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Killaloe walk raises over €200,000 for breast cancer

ALMOST €210,000 has been raised for Action Breast Cancer over a three-year period, thanks to a successful annual charity walk in Killaloe.

A cheque for €73,219, the proceeds of the 2012 Killaloe Pink Ribbon Walk, was recently presented by the chairperson of the committee, Nicola Wood, to John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society (ICS), at a function in the Lakeside Hotel. Also present was Stephanie Casey of the ICS.

Nicola said women have a one in 10 chance of developing breast cancer, the most common cancer in the country. A total of 2,671 women were diagnosed with the disease in 2010, 310 of these from the Mid-West region of Tipperary, Limerick and Clare.

“By taking part in a Pink Ribbon Walk, you help raise funds for Action Breast Cancer, a programme of the Irish Cancer Society that supports vital services,” she said.

Those services include the National Cancer Freefone Helpline (1800 200 700), which is staffed by specialist cancer care nurses. In 2011, specialist cancer nurses supported 22,120 callers to the helpline, up from 21,206 calls in 2010. A total of 741 of these calls came from Clare, Limerick and Tipperary. The
Reach to Recovery Programme, a one-to-one emotional support provided by former breast cancer patients, is also one of the many valuable services provided.

The Killaloe Pink Ribbon Committee comprising Nicola Wood, Maresa McKeogh, Maria Elliott, Carol Meskell, Karnie Roden, Noreen Stokes, Ruth Vaughan, Carmell de Mello, Rebecca Lloyd, Tracey Larkin and Anna Fahy Ryan worked tirelessly for months to ensure the success of the walk, in which almost 700 people took part back in June. Both Killaloe and Ballina were en fete for the occasion with trees, shop windows, lamp-posts and gates all decorated in pink. Even the historic Killaloe Bridge had pink bra bunting for the day.

The walk was launched in April at The Big Pink Gig with guest appearances from Munster rugby hooker, Damian Varley, and Kathleen Turner. This was followed by a series of cake sales, coffee mornings, fashion shows, a clothes sale, talent competitions, table quizzes and a team even ran a tuck shop in their office to raise funds. Since the inaugural Pink Ribbon Walk in Kells, County Meath in 2009, the event has grown with Killaloe joining in 2010 and Kinsale last March.

Killaloe walk ambassador, Barbara McMahon, and the committee were delighted with the increased numbers taking part and also with the crowds that turned up to support the walkers.

“It was an inspiring day, with breast cancer survivors walking alongside breast cancer sufferers, young walking with old, sons and daughters walking with mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles walking with nieces and nephews, everyone walking with friends.

“It was a very humbling experience, but it was also a sign of strength and solidarity. All of us joined together to raise awareness, offer support and hopefully to help find a cure for breast cancer,” said Nicola Wood.

Over the last 30 years, ICS research has made over 650 discoveries. In 2011, the ICS invested €3.1 million in cancer research projects across the country, with about €900,000 going to breast cancer research projects. Financial aid to the value of €1,062,281 was provided last year and €123,790 of this went to people in the Mid-West. Other vital services include health promotion, providing community and workplace programmes on breast cancer awareness and early detection and night nursing for critically ill patients.

Last year, 8,110 nights of care was provided to 2,014 families, 996 of which were provided to the Mid-West. Over 688,266 cancer information booklets and factsheets were provided to people concerned about cancer, 58,553 distributed in the Mid-West. Funds raised through Pink Ribbon Walks also go towards funding the physical activity programme for breast cancer survivors.

The Killaloe committee acknowledged the huge support from The Lakeside Hotel, Killaloe Garda Station, Killaloe Coastguard the Order of Malta and Killaloe Fire Brigade.

“A special thank you must go to all the local businesses and residents who have supported us year on year and who helped turn the route and our two towns of Killaloe and Ballina pink for the day,” said Nicola.

The next walk is in Kells on September 9. For more information on the Pink Ribbon Walks, log on to www.pinkribbonwalk.ie. If anyone has any questions or concerns about breast cancer, contact the National Cancer Freefone Helpline on 1800 200 700 or visit www.cancer.ie


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