THREE brothers have cycled more than 700km around Ireland in an emotional journey in memory of their late sister - a mum of two young daughters - who died from breast cancer last year.
Brian, Alan and David Kelly arrived in Limerick on Thursday last in memory of their only sister Niamh, their eldest sibling who died on August 31 last year, a brief seven months after she was diagnosed.
In the poignant tribute, the brothers visited all the places their beloved sister used to visit during their summer holidays as a family – Louisburg in Mayo; Limerick, where she visited her grandmother Mary Kelly nee O’Leary and other relatives, and Killorglin in Kerry, where her mother Mairead O’Mahony is from.
Limerick was a big part of her life as her father Michael was born and grew up in Glenview Terrace, Farranshone.
Both parents travelled around the country in support of their sons, as they travelled some 140km a day, and were greeted in Killorglin by Niamh’s widow and two daughters.
“It was a very emotional journey for the whole family, but a very positive and therapeutic journey also,” said her uncle Matt Kelly from Limerick.
Niamh, a primary school teacher in Castleknock, Dublin, was married just five years to Garvan Coghlan, and mother to two little girls – Ava and Grace – who were just four and two when she passed away, aged 40. She was first diagnosed in February 2012, and died on the last day of August.
Her brothers were hoping to raise €7,000 for the Mater Hospital Breast Health Unit, where Niamh was cared for, but people’s generosity have greatly surpassed their expectations.
The Cycle for Niamh has now raised nearly €25,000 , following the five day cycle, which was promoted on the social networking site Twitter by TV personalities, Daithí Ó Sé and Marty Morrissey, amongst others.
St Brigid’s national school in Castleknock, where Niamh taught, raised over €3,300 through pupils, parents and teachers for this cause.
“Her passing has left a huge void in the lives of her family and friends,” said her brothers.
They paid tribute to a “ wonderful wife, mother and a cherished daughter” to their parents Michael and Mairead.
“She was a fantastic sister who was always thinking of others. Niamh was great fun to be around with a great sense of humour and an infectious laugh. We all loved her dearly and she is so sadly missed by all.
“We chose this breast cancer appeal to show our family’s appreciation for the wonderful care and support Niamh received from all staff at the unit.”
- To make a donation, log on to www.mycharity.ie/event/cycleforniamh