Two of Ireland’s modern sporting heroes, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Peter O’Mahony, were among a large group who attended the launch of a fundraising walk in aid of the Magaret O’Dwyer Trust Fund at Belgooly’s Huntsman Bar and Restaurant on Wednesday night last.
Diagnosed at 18 with Schwannomatosis, a condition that results in the growth of multiple benign tumors on her spine, Margaret, 43, was confined to a wheelchair last April, following the latest of 21 surgeries.
Having spent nearly twelve months in the national rehabilitation hospital in Dun Laoghaire coming to terms with the loss of her mobility, it was made all the more difficult by having to deal with the death of her father, Mick and sister, Mona too.
Speaking at Wednesday’s launch, Magaret’s partner, Paudie O’Driscoll, who was somewhat emotional in response to the huge attendance at the Belgooly venue, which also included three of Cork’s 1989 All-Ireland winning football team, Denis Allen, Jimmy Kerrigan and Stephen O‘Brien, said, ‘They could never have dreamed of the fantastic support they received tonight in those dark days of the past twelve months. The response of people here tonight means so much to us and we can’t thank people enough.’
With an ambitious target to provide enough funds to make significant alternations to her home as well as acquiring a suitable electric wheelchair, mobility vehicle, several items of exercise equipment and ongoing medical costs, Committee Chairman, Mike Halpin, called on organisations in addition to supporting the walk to organise additional fundraising activities to help achieve the committee’s
Mr Halpin’s sentiments were shared by the Chairman of Bandon/Kinsale Municipal Council Area and next-door neighbour in Dunderrow, Cllr Kevin Murphy, who added it was time for people to put their shoulder to the wheel and get behind the initiative.
Inspired by Magaret’s story, a number of the current Cork Senior Football Panel, including Tom Clancy, Paddy Kelly and Paul Kerrigan, as well as former Irish Rugby Supremo, Declan Kidney, who were unavailable to attend the official launch, agreed to attend an earlier photo shoot to demonstrate their solidarity with the appeal.
The four-mile fundraising walk takes place in Belgooly on May 23rd at 3pm