County Limerick community launches fundraising campaign for cancer patients

Aine Fitzgerald


Aine Fitzgerald

A NATIONWIDE campaign which aims to raise thousands of euro for people battling cancer has been launched by a group in Ballylanders.

A NATIONWIDE campaign which aims to raise thousands of euro for people battling cancer has been launched by a group in Ballylanders.

The Drive to Survive Campaign which is being spearheaded by Dan Gallahue, the son of the late John Gallahue who was cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, is urging communities across the country to host fundraisers over the coming 12 months to raise funds for cancer patients.

Plans are already afoot for a major fundraising drive which will see volunteers take two 1920s Ford Model T cars across 26 counties over seven days next August covering 1,013 miles. The group will be collecting money for the cause along the route. “Cancer is a difficult subject for many people as we all know someone who has had cancer at some point. This is why we need to come together to gather the funds that will help provide the standard of care needed,” said Mr Gallahue at the launch in Gallahue’s hall, Ballylanders last Friday night.

“We would like people in different communities throughout the country to host local fundraisers for Drive to Survive and contribute to the overall fund to support hospice care. Already we have had three successful fundraisers in Ballylanders and Kilmallock and even one in America run by friends and volunteers. We are so grateful for their support as we will be of yours,” he added.

On the June Bank Holiday weekend, Gallahue’s Bar in Ballylanders hosted a barbecue, a raffle and a disco raising €2,700, while a race night in Mike Houlihan’s bar in Kilmallock raised €3,300.

“It’s something we are very passionate about,” continued Mr Gallahue.

“There is no end to the amount of money that can be collected. We have seen that with the two events we have run in Ballylanders and Kilmallock - we have €6,000 collected with two very simple events.”

The Drive to Survive Campaign is being run in memory of the late councillor John Gallahue, chairman of Limerick County Council.

Mr Gallahue was a very active community member and lost his battle against cancer in 2011.

Mr Gallahue ran a pub in Ballylanders. He worked as a special advisor to Willie O’Dea for a number of years and had been a prime mover in establishing links between Limerick and Hungary.

Mr Gallahue had a wish to set up a charity which would unite the country in an effort to raise funds for cancer. His son Dan, with the support of an active committee, is now continuing with these efforts.

In 1995, Dan, together with his father, mobilised a group of local volunteers from Anglesboro, Knockadea and Ballylanders to raise money for St Joseph’s Foundation in Charleville.

The group undertook a similar endeavour to drive a vintage tractor to Malin Head. The campaign was a huge success and many of the original volunteers are involved in the current endeavour.

Full details on the initiative can be found on the Drive to Survive website, and more pictures from the launch can be found on the community Facebook page.