Frontline hero takes on the ‘Tour De County’ challenge
In recent months, we have witnessed a tremendous outpouring of support and thanks for our frontline heroes who go above and beyond for our little patients. They have been steadfast in ensuring that the level of care received in our hospitals remains world class despite the challenges of the pandemic. Staff Nurse Mary Walsh is on the frontline taking care of some of our youngest little patients. She is a seasoned triathlete outside of the hospital and this July she is taking on our ‘Tour De County’ cycling challenge to raise vital funds for our little patients.
“Nazareth Ward is an extremely busy 17 bedded medical/surgical ward that cares for patients from birth to two years of age. The ward manages a wide variety of conditions including patients who require medical and surgical interventions. The types of medical conditions that we manage include bronchiolitis, urinary tract infections, and obstructive sleep apnoea. The surgical conditions include a variety of minor to major complex surgeries. The ward specialises in caring for patients with a rare skin disorder called Epidermolysis Bullosa also known more commonly as Butterfly Syndrome or “EB”. Most of our patients have short stays but some of our patients can be here for quite some time. We love being able to build up a trusting rapport with our patients and families especially when their stays are extended for a prolonged period of time. During the pandemic of COVID19 and the lockdown, we found it really hard as only one parent was allowed to be present with their child. Family centred care is at the core of what we do and having families not being able to be together has been really difficult for everyone involved.”
Many of those babies will require a multi-disciplinary team and Mary knows first-hand there is a lot involved with such teams. There can be three to four medical and surgical teams involved in a case - speech and language, dietician, occupational therapy, physiotherapy.
“We link in with the whole multi-disciplinary team and we help manage those relationships. We also train parents on how to look after their babies if there is a bowel condition or a feeding issue that they might need like a Nasogastric (NG) feeding tube or things like that.
There are a lot of good stories that come out of the hospital but then unfortunately there are the sad stories and challenges. Things can be harder than what you would like them to be. We all talk to each other, and we say exactly how we are feeling. We are our own support unit as well and we constantly talk through everything.”
Outside of the hospital, Mary has been nursing a new found love for triathlons over the last few years. It has become a great outlet for her to de-stress and rejuvenate her body, mind and spirit.
“I was always really sporty doing various bits like cycling, running, swimming and horse-riding. I went back to UCD in 2016 to do the Higher Diploma in Paediatrics, and UCD has a fabulous swimming pool. UCD was a great instigator for swimming and I never really gave up running and then my brother-in-law is in Naas Triathlon Club and he was slagging me off that all I needed now was a bike. I've done two seasons now of triathlons with the Naas club. It is the best thing ever to go training. Whether you're running, going for a swim or on the bike everything just goes out of your head. You just focus on correct positioning, technique and breathing. I always feel great after it.
I love to cycle around Blessington because I love the lakes and the views after a hilly ascent are amazing. Open water swimming is great now since the swimming pools are closed. I'm based in Newbridge in County Kildare so we're only a half hour from the river Barrow. So I'd be doing river and sea swimming.
I had signed up to do a half ironman in Italy in September but that is probably not going ahead now with the COVID19 situation. I've been doing a lot of training and when I saw CMRF Crumlin was doing 'Tour De County' I signed up because I can put my training to good use. I have done a few virtual races during lockdown - four half marathons and one three quarters of a marathon, which was very challenging when I only had a 5km radius.
Every day I see first-hand the great work that CMRF Crumlin does, and the amazing impact it has on the patients, families and everyone in the hospital. ‘Tour De County’ will be my little challenge and I know every penny raised will make such a difference to our patients.”
With your support we will continue to do #WhateverItTakes
To find out more about ‘Tour De County’ and to sign up click the following link: https://cmrf.org/stories/tour-de-county-with-cmrf-crumlin
To find out more about Mary’s ‘Tour De County’ challenge and to donate click the following link: