SINCE Vicky Phelan spoke to the press on the steps of the Four Courts last year she has been on quite a journey but now she is getting behind a young woman embarking on one.
The brave cervical cancer campaigner is inundated with requests to speak at events but she gave her support to Ciara McCullough on Monday evening.
Ciara is running along the Wild Atlantic Way from Derry to Kinsale in January to raise funds for Children’s Grief Centre.
Vicky launched the fundraiser in Wood & Bell in Killaloe because Ciara reminds her of herself and because of the chosen charity. The Children’s Grief Centre supports boys and girls between four and 18 where parents have separated, divorced or where there has been a bereavement.
“I am in a situation where I may only have another number of years to live. I will be lucky to get five, to be honest, unless something comes along to cure me. That is a reality I will have to face and my children will have to live without me.
“The Children’s Grief Centre is something they will probably have to avail of so anything I can do to help raise awareness and funds for Children’s Grief Centre is good with me because my children will probably have to use it unfortunately in the near future,” said Vicky.
Ciara, from Ballinahinch but living in Killaloe, jokingly described her idea to run from Derry to Kinsale as a “brain fart”. She told the crowd how running every day has been very good for her mental health.
“Just because my mind says ‘I’m not good enough’ it doesn’t mean I have to believe it,” said Ciara.
“It is going to be a mighty adventure. I’ve been training for the last six months. It will push me like never before,” she continued. Ciara thanked her wife Paula, friends and family for encouraging her and all are welcome on the route when she commences on January 14 until she ends in Kinsale on February 28.
Her goal is to raise €150,000 for Children’s Grief Centre to support their plans for a dream building. It is easy to see why Vicky sees herself in Ciara as they are both so honest and open.
Vicky said: “She reminds me of myself because she has suffered terribly from depression but she discovered running and discovered it was good for her depression which is exactly what happened to me.
“She also wants to show others that there are things they can do to help themselves and to inspire others to show there is a way forward and there is a choice in life – to either live or exist. That really struck a chord with me because that is how I live my life.”
Theresa Kavanagh, of Children’s Grief Centre, said they are extremely grateful for Ciara’s kindness and “phenomenal” generosity and they will support her any way they can.
“There is not a week goes by that I don’t think where would children and young people go if the Children’s Grief Centre did not exist,” said Ms Kavanagh.
Find out more on their new building plan and to donate on their Go Fund Me page.