Doctor scales peaks across 32 counties in fundraising tribute to sister-in-law

A hospital consultant has successfully scaled the highest mountain in every county – in a single week.

Super-fit Richard Horgan yesterday (July22) took the final steps of a gruelling and emotional challenge undertaken in memory of his sister-in-law Orla Gosnell, who died five years ago, aged 38.

As he descended the final peak, 918metre Galtymore on the Limerick/Tipperary border, the Cork-based obstetrician and gynaecologist said: “What a fantastic week, it has been challenging and brilliant.

“I think if Orla could see us now, she’d be crying happy tears.”

The Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) medic, aged in his 40s, was joined by Orla’s husband Robert, her mum Myriam and dad Kees on his final descent.

Richard was working at Dublin’s Rotunda when the social care worker tragically died just five months after delivering her fifth child at the Cork hospital in 2018.

He undertook the climb in her memory – but also to raise funds to construct relaxing spaces in CUMH’s corridors for patients, their partners and staff.

He has almost tripled the initial target of €10,000 – with €28,000 so far rolling into CUH Charity from supporters at home and overseas.

During the seven-day trek with colleague and friend, Professor Richard Greene, the pair camped overnight at the base of their next peak, climbing a combined altitude of 16,000m, almost twice that of Mount Everest.

They slept for little more than four hours each night, beginning the mammoth

’32 County Peaks in 1 Week’ challenge in Cork last Sunday, (July 16) and traversing 2,100km of countryside by jeep to the highest point in each county.

The all-island itinerary, hammered out weeks in advance, went without a hitch – not even the weather derailed them.

“I am overwhelmed by the love and respect for Orla, the support for Richard Greene and I, for CUMH, and I am humbled by the generosity and support of so many,” Richard said.

Claire Concannon of CUH Charity described the Cork city-based father-of-three as a “fantastic representative” of so many donors who choose to fundraise in memory of a loved one. 

“Part of Orla’s legacy will be the creation of more comfortable spaces for anyone who may need it during their time in CUMH, where they can step away from the clinical spaces and just breathe. 
“We are absolutely blown away by Richard’s energy and enthusiasm throughout the week and hugely appreciate his effort. Big thanks also to Prof Greene for such incredible support.”

Richard said Orla always enjoyed a brilliant relationship with children.

“She loved being pregnant but always wanted to be involved and to know everything about her care.

“She was so dynamic, it was always about the solution rather than the problem with her. This lives on in her five fabulous kids,” he said.

His fundraiser for CUH Charity remains open until August 6 at:

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