“Death touches us all”: raising a cup for Hospice services

A man whose mother and two sisters-in-law spent their final days in Hospice care is joining a nationwide army of ‘superheroes’ aiming to raise €2million during Ireland’s biggest coffee morning.

John Ryan has already handed over a staggering €30,000 in nine years to thank the staff who cared for his mother Mary and sisters-in-law Bernadette and Jean, both of whom succumbed to cancer.

“I find that despite the cost of living, no-one refuses donating to the hospice because death touches us all,” said the 62-year-old, whose fundraising drive will benefit Waterford Hospice Movement and Marymount University Hospital and Hospice in Cork.

“Seeing loved ones die is a real eye-opener. Your health is your wealth no matter what you have in life.”

From Lismore in Waterford, John will be part of a legion of volunteers throughout the country fundraising for Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice – a charitable phenomenon which has raised €43.2million since 1992.

While the official event day is September 21, his will be staged

opposite St Carthage’s Cathedral this Saturday. (Sept 16)

Nearly 200km away, the owners of a pub in Moate, Co Westmeath, are hosting a similar event in memory of several regulars who were embraced by Hospice care before they passed away.

Denis and Annette Moran of The Gap House decided to help with a sponsored walk which raised over €28,000 for South Westmeath Hospice.

“We have lost a lot of dear friends and loved ones down through the years,” said Annette, whose fundraising event this year is set for September 23.

“When some of these people passed away, we were all devastated and just felt helpless.”

It is that same desire to give something back to local Hospices which is the driving force behind Ursula McKeogh’s event at her local community centre in Meanus, Limerick, this Friday. (Sept15).

The 54-year-old cancer survivor is staging it in memory of her friend Rita Cotter, who died from a brain tumour three years ago.

Both women fundraised for Milford Care Centre – and Ursula has continued the event for the Hospice, whose palliative care team helped her friend – and Ursula’s mother Mary – in their final days.

“As a cancer survivor, I’ve unfortunately seen a lot of people who didn’t make it and that’s why Milford Care Centre is so important to me,” she said.

A Dublin-based fundraiser who starts stockpiling baked goods months in advance, had over 400 cakes in her freezers ahead of her coffee morning.

Swords-based grandmother Carol Collins, 76, uses her own home-grown organic produce to pack eight freezers with cakes, tarts and soups, which she has sold to raise over €37,000 in eight years for St Francis Hospice in the capital.

Another Dubliner, Adrienne Parkes, 77, has been volunteering at Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services in Harold’s Cross since her late friend Anne O’Hanlon persuaded her to help out 11 years ago.

Her coffee mornings in Walkinstown – this year’s is on September 23 – have been such a success that she has even spotted children emptying their pocket money into donation boxes.

“Some people associate hospices with death but that is not the case anymore. 

“Hospices are more about life now than death and there are far more smiles than tears,” she said.

A Meath mum-of-two who has been hosting coffee mornings in aid of the East Meath Hospice Association for 28 years, is now seeing three generations of families attend her annual get together.

Bellewstown woman Linda Donnelly and her team of supporters have raised over €40,000 for the Hospice to provide palliative care for people in their homes – and they hope the community rallies to support it again at Bellewstown Racecourse restaurant on September 21.

Supported by Bewley’s since 1992, the national fundraising drive has so far raised over €43.2million.

Together for Hospice, The National Hospice Movement, represents 26 Hospice and specialist palliative home care providers supporting patients and their families.

Funds raised locally stay local and go back into each hospice to innovate, build new facilities, develop new services and deliver quality improvements and extra benefits for their patients and family members.

Register now to host a coffee morning on September 21 – or on a date that suits you – at hospicecoffeemorning.ie or call 0818 995 996.  If you cannot host or attend one, you can make a donation at hospicecoffeemorning.ie/donate

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