BY JJ HURLEY
TWO of Ireland’s sporting heroes, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Peter O’Mahony, are backing a fundraising walk in aid of the Margaret O’Dwyer Trust Fund.
The walk was launched recently at Belgooly’s Huntsman Bar and Restaurant.
Diagnosed in her late teens with Schwannomatosis, a condition that results in the growth of multiple benign tumors on the spine, Margaret, now 43, was confined to a wheelchair last April, following the latest of 21 operations.
During her twelve months spent in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, working on her decreasingly mobility, Margaret also had to deal with the death of her father Mick, and sister Mona.
Speaking at the launch, Magaret’s partner, Paudie O’Driscoll, who was somewhat emotional in response to the huge attendance, said the family could never have dreamed of the fantastic support they received, especially during the ‘dark days’ of the past twelve months.
‘The response of people here tonight means so much to us and we can’t thank people enough,’ he said.
With an ambitious target to provide enough funds to make significant alternations to her home, as well as acquiring a suitable electric wheelchair, mobility vehicle, several items of exercise equipment, and covering ongoing medical costs, committee chairman Mike Halpin called on organisations to also support the walk.
Mr Halpin’s sentiments were shared by the chairman of Bandon/Kinsale Municipal District and his next-door neighbour in Dunderrow, Cllr Kevin Murphy, who added it was time for people to put their shoulder to the wheel and get behind the initiative.
Three of Cork’s 1989 All-Ireland winning football team – Denis Allen, Jimmy Kerrigan and Stephen O‘Brien – all attended the launch.
And, inspired by Margaret’s story, a number of the current Cork senior football panel, including Tom Clancy, Paddy Kelly and Paul Kerrigan, as well as former Irish rugby supremo, Declan Kidney, who were unavailable to attend the official launch, have lent their support to the appeal.
The four-mile fundraising walk takes place in Belgooly on May 23rd at 3pm.