IT may have meant missing out on most of the Olympics but Jerry Twomey’s 90-mile run from Tramore to Limerick has delivered gold for motor neurone disease patients.
Over €11,000 has been raised to date and donations are still being accepted for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA), a charity the city solicitor said had provided “immeasurable support” to his late father John.
John Twomey passed away two years ago at the age of 67 having bravely fought the debilitating and incurable neurological condition for a number of years.
To mark what would have been his father’s birthday, Jerry set off from John’s native Tramore on July 27. After kissing his grandmother goodbye in Waterford, Jerry completed the 90 miles in seven legs with only two rest days in between.
He was joined by sons Sean, Eunan and Cillian as he completed the journey with a ticker tape reception outside the home of his mother Frances, as whose city law firm Jerry practices.
“I ran to my mammy’s arms and gave her the kiss that completed the challenge. And with that kiss came the conclusion of a tough enough journey that brought me new friends and memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. And, most importantly, a small fortune gathered for the deserving IMNDA. Well worth every joule,” said Jerry.
Formerly an engineer, Jerry’s appetite for hard data means he was able to report having burned a total of 10,733 calories along the way. He computes that the total running time was 12 hours, 43 minutes and 11 seconds, with the highest recorded heart rate “a whopping 190 beats per minute”.
But the most important figure of all was the €11,195 that had been generously donated by last Saturday.
That’s more than enough to allow the IMNDA to buy a hoist or other expensive equipment that can make a real difference in the lives of motor neurone disease patients and their families.
“It’s up to the charity how the money is spent and when you donate on the website (www.mycharity.ie), the money goes directly to the charity and I don’t ever really see it. But yes, that would be enough to buy a hoist for them to loan. We actually needed one ourselves. My father was a big man - at six foot three and 17 stone, whereas my mother is five foot zero and eight stone so she couldn’t lift him. The IMNDA didn’t have the money at the time but two weeks later they got back to us because somebody had done a similar type of fundraiser in the meantime,” explained Jerry.
“It goes to show not only the wonders of what the IMNDA can do for families but also how strapped for cash they can be and how reliant on fundraising they are.”
Jerry’s fundraiser took him through Clonmel, Carrick-on-Suir, Cahir, Tipperary Town, Pallasgreen, Dromkeen and Boher. And he is grateful for all the encouragement he received along the way.
“It wouldn’t test an Olympian but it did test me,” confessed the 40-year-old with the dodgy ankle.
“I was very sore midweek but it really was heart-warming to be joined every now and then by people who would run alongside me for a few minutes at a time, curious to know what was behind all of it and why I was running. And of course the cars and the lorries beeping as they passed by also gave me a bit more pep.”
The IMNDA provides financial assistance towards home help, the loan of specialist equipment, grants for bathroom conversion and other supports, while it also funds research aimed at finding a breakthrough in the treatment of what is an incurable illness.
Donations can still be made on-line by logging on to www.mycharity.ie/event/proudofjohn