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'I keep my promises' - hero Michael reaches finish line on 125km walk after daughter's cancer diagnosis

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Michael Connolly reaches the finish line of his 125km walk in St Anne’s Park

Michael Connolly reaches the finish line of his 125km walk in St Anne’s Park

Michael Connolly reaches the finish line of his 125km walk in St Anne’s Park

A Sutton great-grandfather who set himself a challenge to walk more than 100km to raise money for a cancer charity has crossed the finish line in St Anne's Park.

Michael Connolly (87) has raised more than €7,000 but hopes a final push on fundraising will bring the total to €10,000.

The big-hearted great-grandfather and former mechanic has had a brush with the disease himself, but it was when his daughter Breege was diagnosed recently that he decided he needed to do something while he was still fit to raise money for cancer research.

Vintage

The Monaghan man began his journey in a symbolic way at his old school in his native county two weeks ago, and while his initial plan was to walk from there to his home in Sutton, he was advised that a roadside walk in winter for a man of his vintage might not be wise.

So instead he did daily laps of St Anne's Park with some supporters to keep an eye on him until he completed his mission yesterday.

"I've walked around 125km in total which is the distance from Monaghan to my home," said Mr Connolly proudly.

"I met quite a lot of old friends I haven't seen in a while, and Sergeant Erin Lee from Clontarf station accompanied me on a lap of the park with some of my family, including my daughter Breege who has the cancer, and her daughter who returned home from Australia to look after her.

"I know every tree and bush in this park at this stage. An old football injury I had from years ago came back at me for a while and I had to work through that."

He said his daughter's recent diagnosis with cancer inspired him to take on the challenge and he was "thrilled" with the support he received from the local community.

"My family has been affected by cancer. I have had cancer recently but I'm over it now," he said.

"My son had a battle with it in the past, but it was more recently when my daughter Breege was diagnosed that I got the idea to do something.

"I made a promise to myself to do it, and I always keep my promises."

He was thrilled to see so many supporters cheer him to the finish line, including local gardaí of all ranks who came to see him reach his goal.

Floating

"The superintendent and inspector were there too. I had to make a speech at the end and I got a clap for it. I'm floating on air now," he said.

"I would encourage anyone of any age to do some walking and stay active. It breaks the monotony, it's good for the mind and it's good for the body. Start easy and build up your stamina.

"I'll take a few days off now, but I won't hang up the walking shoes. I have to practice what I preach."

If you would like to help Michael reach his €10,000 goal, donations will be gratefully appreciated at AIB Bank, Sutton, Dublin 13 with the IBAN IE64AIBK93236130250028.


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