Next weekend, the West Clare Mini-Marathon will take place virtually.
Recognised as one of the biggest events in West Clare for the past 23 years, the annual 10k charity event is a stark reminder that cancer is still the biggest killer worldwide, says Committee Chairman Willie McGrath. All funds raised are in aid of the West Clare Cancer Centre.
“Everyone is aware that West Clare is so isolated from all facilities that are needed when someone is diagnosed with cancer. We are a locally based registered charity here in West Clare and there is nobody else to turn to,” McGrath detailed.
This year the event will take place virtually, within everyone’s respective 5km radius. Over the past 23 years, the event has raised over €4m in funding for cancer patients at West Clare Cancer Centre. Willie remarks that between €180,000 and €200,000 has been raised each year, over the past two or three years and hopes that 2021 will bring the same success. “We have learned from other groups going ahead with fundraisers during Covid,” he acknowledged.
Run by a voluntary group, the West Clare Cancer Centre came to be when the late Bernie Gibson bequeathed her home at Corry Lane, Kilkee, to the committee after she was being looked after, Willie explains. Bernie lived at the cottage for 24 years, with the walls representing her life and the beauty of enjoying the simplest things, she wrote. Her imparting message was that there is a silver lining to every cloud. The facility is now used as an office, for professional counselling and complementary therapies to all Clare clients. Other services include palliative aids and pilgrimage funding.
Willie adds that there are now three full time taxi’s working for the centre, to provide transport for cancer patients. “Each cancer patient costs the centre around €4,500. If you have a situation where you have a family member that has been diagnosed and has to travel to Limerick for eight to ten weeks, there may be nobody there to drive them”.
Registration for the January 30th and 31st run is taking place online this year, with the fee amounting to a total of €20 to participate. Willie hopes that the fantastic support received throughout the years, in particular from the older generation accustomed to the annual event, will continue. Adding that the centre will be open five days per week, from 11am to 2pm and that anybody that is unable to sign up online can ring the office and will be looked after.
“We ask that people take to the roads within their own 5k radius to complete the 10k and do so under the Covid guidelines. Now that we are gone virtual, we are not limited to just Ireland, so come join in from far and wide. We are really looking forward to it,” he states.
For more information or to register for the event, visit: westclarecancercentre.ie or call: 065-906 0762 or email: westclarecancercentre.ie.