Siúl sa bhaile – a walk for our little patients
For nearly 20 years, CMRF Crumlin supporter Liam Heffernan has been walking for our little patients in CHI at Crumlin. Never one to say no to a challenge, Liam has once again put his passion for the hospital to good use by organising a three-day walking tour in the West of Ireland – covering the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and the Wild Atlantic Way – all to raise vital funds for sick children in Crumlin. ‘Siúl sa bhaile’ is a multi-tiered walking tour; catering for walkers of various levels.
“We have a walking group in Crumlin of people who have done various walks over the years. This year with COVID19 it has not been possible. So, I organised a walk from Liscannor to Doolin over the Cliffs of Moher for day one and two with shorter options and day 3 from Fanore to Doolin also with shorter options,” says Liam. “We'll be based in The Armada Hotel for the week. It's a lovely hotel in a beautiful location. Everybody will be given a reusable face mask, and a little bottle of hand sanitiser. The hotel is delighted to support this challenge, and they will be implementing the rigid COVID19 restrictions that are in place. Numbers are limited because no more than 50 people can be in a particular room at any time. Tables are limited to six people.
“Looking at the weather forecast there is brilliant sunshine forecast for two weeks in the middle of September so I'm fairly confident that the weather will be good. There will be spectacular views of the Cliffs of Moher, the Aran Islands, and the Burren itself.
“My connection with Crumlin hospital goes back to about 32 years ago. My youngest daughter had a congenital heart defect when she was born. Within the space of six weeks she needed open heart surgery. The surgery took place when she was just six weeks old. She was 2lbs having been 6lbs at birth. It was such an incredible feat of medicine, engineering and surgical procedure that I was gobsmacked by the whole thing. For years my wife and I had it in the back of our minds to try to repay Crumlin.
“So around the year 2001, I rang the hospital to see if I could come up to paint a wall or cut a hedge or do something along the maintenance side. I was put onto a great man called John Fitzpatrick who asked me would I do a cycle and raise some money. I hadn't cycled, but it was for the hospital and I couldn't refuse, so I purchased myself the closest thing to a farm gate and I went off cycling! It turned out to be a cycle in Niagara Falls with 60 miles a day.
“A few years later I had a problem with my hip, and I found it difficult to keep cycling at the level I was at. I focused on the walks then, which were fantastic and generally took place in September. I met some great people during those days doing the walks, there was about 120 people doing the cycles and walks each year. Most of those people are like family members to me now. I know people practically in every village in Ireland now.
“My favourite and the hardest of all the walks I ever did for CMRF Crumlin was the one to Machu Picchu in Peru. That was definitely the most difficult thing I ever did. It was over the Easter period, and we camped out. We were at heights of 17,000 feet above sea level, and camping at night time temperatures were sub-zero. We had ice on the outside of the tent and ice on the inside of the tent too.
“Anybody can do these challenges, it's just about having the will, focus and confidence to do them. These are things that people wouldn't normally do but once you do them you never regret them. You have to really enjoy fundraising, most of mine has centred on giving something back to people. Giving people pleasure in their lives.
“Every marathon begins with the first step. Contact CMRF Crumlin to talk to somebody to get started. Get to know some of the people, and get involved in some of the events and challenges. That way you'll become part of the fundraising family, and you'll learn very quickly how to do it, and how to enjoy it.”
With your support we will continue to do #WhateverItTakes
‘Siúl sa bhaile’ will take place from the 21st – 25th September 2020.
To take part in ‘Siúl sa bhaile’ please call Liam Heffernan at 087 2120201.