Stories of heartache behind Limerick’s mini marathon

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Set for Saturday: Shauna Lindsay and Rachel Birdthistle getting ready for the Women's mini marathon this weekend, with over 2,200 due to take part. Picture: Dave Gaynor
THOUSANDS of women from across Limerick and beyond will be running in the Women’s mini marathon this weekend for causes very close to their hearts.

THOUSANDS of women from across Limerick and beyond will be running in the Women’s mini marathon this weekend for causes very close to their hearts.

For Jillian Concannon it will be her fifth year taking part in the 8km run around the grounds of the University of Limerick, in memory of her daughter who lived for just six hours.

On December 21, 2009, Jillian, who is originally from O’Brien’s Bridge, received the heart-breaking news that her baby had a condition, which doctors described as being ‘incompatible with life’, when she went to the Maternity Hospital for her 36 week check-up.

Her baby had a condition called anencephaly - a neural tube defect similar to spina bifida.

They were given a pack with information to read through and “were sent home for a few days to let the awful news sink it.”

The pack was called ‘A Little Lifetime’ and this was the first time they came across this charity, formerly known as Isands, which has been supporting families bereaved by stillbirth or neonatal death for 30 years.

Jillian, a mum of four other children now living in Offaly, said the pack contained “things that we wished we didn’t need to know, but information that I am so glad now, that we were given at that time.”

Their beautiful daughter Doireann was born on December 30 and thanks to the information they received from A Little Lifetime, they “made the most of that precious time” they had with her.

“The online forum was my lifeline in the very dark days at the beginning of my grief journey. It was so helpful to be able to connect with other parents who were going through the same thing, to know what I felt was ‘normal’, to know I wasn’t alone,” she said.

Through the Limerick Women’s Mini Marathon, she has now raised over €2,000 for A Little Lifetime Foundation, and some €300 this year.

Jillian, her sister and aunt will take part for this charity on Saturday, adding that it has always been “such a nice event”.

Each year in Ireland approximately 500 babies die around the time of their birth.

To support Jillian visit www.mycharity.ie/event/doireannallf, or visit www.isands.ie/