AS local parishes, secondary schools and popular figures prepare for the year’s largest charity walk campaign for Milford Hospice this weekend, organiser Martin Kiely is hopeful that it will be successful.
The Walk of Life campaign, which is spearheaded by Limerick Leader columnist Martin Kiely, takes place this Saturday, October 19, at six different destinations around the region.
At 12pm, participants will start their walk from University of Limerick, Murroe, Newcastle West, Curragh Chase, Kilfinane and Sixmilebridge, in order to raise “significant” funds for the Milford Hospice.
Mr Kiely said there has been great support from the public when raising awareness for the campaign.
“There has been a lot of months’ hard work put into this and there have been a lot parishes that have really got involved and it’s all so positive. People in Limerick have always had this fierce loyalty to the hospice and it is really showing.
“Everyone knows somebody, directly and indirectly, who has been seriously ill, and in some cases it is not possible for relatives to look after their loved ones anymore due to illness. There is an onus on society to help others and I think there is a great need for that these days,” he said.
The RTÉ broadcaster said that it is not just for people who wish to donate to the charity; those who wish to walk are also welcome.
“We are hoping to raise a significant amount of money from parishes and I really hope that we get plenty of people who will put their shoulder against the wheel. We would greatly appreciate any donations, but if there are some people who cannot make a donation, I am urging them to take part in the walk.”
The reason why Mr Kiely launched the idea of the campaign was because of the “outstanding” work the Milford Hospice do for the vulnerable.
“I have no direct link with anyone in Milford Hospice, but I always saw it as an outstanding service with excellent care for the people who are in the Milford Care Centre. I have heard people say that they have been so helpful with the sickness and sadness they have been going through, and they really do give people that sense of meaning in their last few weeks with the care that they provide.
“The onus is on us all that we should eventually give something back. We take an awful lot for granted but we do realise what’s going on. And what I want to achieve out of this is that I give something back. I would be happy if people just walked and, at the end, just get the cheque and deliver to Milford Hospice and it will be put to good use,” he added.
Though he believes that the Celtic Tiger got rid of people’s sense of charity, he said the support from sports figures and young people has been a highlight of the campaign.
“When I was looking for someone to launch the Walk of Life, I couldn’t think of anyone better than Ger Loughnane because he himself battled with cancer, and he is aware of everything and he is very understanding of the cause. Just because you win an All-Ireland, it doesn’t mean your eyes and ears are completely shut; you still know what’s going on around you.
“We also have Sarah Lavin, who is getting involved in it, and she will be leading the walk from the University of Limerick. Sarah is very young and is a world-class athlete who is setting national records. She knows what the Milford Hospice is about and, as far as I know, she does volunteer for them. The young people have been fantastic, and even some of the schools have got involved by doing it as part of their Transition Year programme,” he said.
People who wish to participate in one of six walks, this Saturday, may still register. For more information, visit www.walkoflife.ie.