Wednesday 26 October 2016

Runners tackle Aran Islands to raise €70,000 for Temple Street


John Murray, Susan Steele and Children Emma and Carl
John Murray, Susan Steele and Children Emma and Carl

A TEENAGE girl who spent the first three months of her life in Temple Street Children's hospital has vowed to compete a half marathon for the hospital in her wheelchair.

The Steele and Murray family from Clonakilty, Co Cork were among 200 families, doctors and nurses who ran, walked and even strolled the half marathon on the Aran Islands, enjoying the breathtaking views and raising over €70,000 in the process.

Susan Steele, her husband John Murray and children Emma (16) and Carl (11) completed the run together.

Their daughter and sister Lizzie (13) who has spina bifida and is in a wheelchair, is now in training to take part in the half marathon next year.

"This is year six for us. We've slowly got all the kids into it. This is Emma's second year and it's Carl's first year.

"We have seven kids but our second daughter Lizzie was in Temple Street for 14 weeks after she was born so we run it for her every year. She isn't here this year but hopefully she'll be here for next year. She's 13 and she's in a wheelchair so she's been training like mad for next year," said mum Susan.

Lizzie was born eight weeks early with a large tumour and cerebral palsy.

"We didn't expect it, nobody ever does. The hospital is not in great condition, but everyone who works there puts their heart into it. Emma was only 17 months when Lizzie was in there and they really minded her as well. They looked after all of us," said Susan.

This year alone the event has raised a massive €70,000 for the hospital, with funds from the event hitting more than €1m over the past decade.

Angela McNulty, Special Events manager with the hospital said it has grown annually over the decade.

"We have over 200 weekend participants and they come from all over Ireland. It's a wonderful mix of people who take part, from supporters and families of children that attend the hospital to a lot of staff," she said.

Niall Balfe from Blanchardstown, who won the race, had never been on the islands before. He was among four colleagues from Vision Express who travelled to Inis Mor for the event.

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