Rapid Response can breathe easy thanks to new ventilator

May 21st, 2021 10:10 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Holly O’Callaghan, Sean Desmond, Daniel Harte, and Ella Mai O’Callaghan holding the cheque, with back (from left) Donaly Daly of WCRR, Karen and Shonagh O’Callaghan, Orla Desmond, Dena O’Donovan of WCRR, Dr Mairead MacConaill, of WCRR, Dermot Desmond and Dr Jason.

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A CROOKSTOWN fun run has provided Dr Jason van der Velde’s life-saving service with the means to purchase a new portable ventilator.

Dermot Desmond, better known as Des, and his friend, Brian Harte, did back-to-back marathons recently in aid of West Cork Rapid Response.

They were joined by 10 other members of the Crookstown Fun Runners who did an assortment of full and half-marathons, plus 5km and 10km runs over the two-day event.

The duo who did the 26 miles twice were delighted when their own children came out to join them on the final 2km stretch.

But what was most surprising of all was that people dug deep, financially, and came out to cheer them along the route.

It made each of the participants feel as if they’d not only challenged themselves during the lockdown but did something important for their community too.

‘We might make it an annual event,’ Des told The Southern Star. ‘We were thrilled to have raised €16,623, and to be able to divide it equally between West Cork Rapid Response and Féileacáin, the stillbirth and neonatal death association of Ireland.’

Both organisations provided the runners with sponsorship cards, but when people heard about it lots of donations were made online too.

As a result, the €8,311.50 donated to West Cork Rapid Response will pay the balance for a new portable ventilator for use by Dr Jason van der Velde in his medical missions.

Dena O’Donovan, one of seven directors of West Cork Rapid Response, was at the cheque presentation ceremony last Saturday.

Just the week before, she said the directors had agreed to spend €25,000 on a new portable ventilator, as well as investing €6,000 in having the old one repaired.

‘The work of Dr Jason is now legendary,’ said Dena, ‘and people are very generous. Thanks to the Ballinascarthy Hall Committee, which raised a phenomenal amount – just shy of €100,000 – we were able to change Jason’s jeep.

‘As jeeps age,’ she explained, ‘it’s hard to get insurance so it is important that we keep on top of that.’

Although a lot of the funds have already been invested, Dena said, there’s always people willing to run events and make donations. ‘Irish people are brilliant in terms of their generosity to charities. A lot of companies also provide donations every year. It’s not always money,’ she added, ‘some even think to provide the diesel needed to keep the jeep on the road.’

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