Kevin ‘Crab’ Feeney from Westway in Derry was only in his early 30s when Cystic Fibrosis claimed his life in 2007. According to his friend Billy McLaughlin he was one of those men who everyone knew and his passing left a huge void in the lives of his family and friends.
So when Billy was looking to pull together a fundraising event he immediately thought of raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in Kevin’s memory.
In addition Billy wanted to raise money for Childline Foyle, where he works as a volunteer counsellor, so with the support of Kevin’s friend Sean Morrow, he decided to set up the first annual Charity 10K ‘Crab’ Run/Walk (the Two Bridges) which will take place on Sunday, June 26.
“Kevin was just the kind of person that everyone knew,” Billy explained. “Most of us of course knew him by his nickname ‘Crab’ and we have been amazed at the response we have had so far to the charity event.
“He was a big Celtic supporter so a lot of people from around the Celtic clubs would know him and want to get involved in doing something in his memory.
“We called his wife, Joanne to ask if she minded us arranging the walk and she was delighted. We asked her to name it and as everyone knew Kevin as Crab, she decided to call it the ‘Crab Run/Walk’.”
Getting people to get behind the event has so far proven to be a relatively easy task. “As soon as people hear it is for Crab they want to get involved.
“We have been overwhelmed by people offering their support. Energy Fitness have donated a year’s membership as a prize and Smyth’s Toystore have also donated a bike for a charity raffle.
“The Richmond Centre have been amazing and we have also arranged a charity night in the Dungloe Bar to carry on the fundraising and the craic afterwards.”
“We know Crab would approve and that he would want awareness of Cystic Fibrosis raised as well. His wife, Joanne, will be running with us and is in training at the moment. It will be a very emotional day for everyone,” said Billy.
Having been a volunteer for the last year, Billy is also keen to raise funds and awareness of Childline Foyle.
“A lot of people don’t even realise we are there,” he said. “But from the moment I started my training I knew that they were the organisation for me.
“The staff and volunteers are brilliant - and we work together to make a real difference. The work can be really rough. Obviously there are times when you take very difficult phone calls.
“On other occasions you may just take a call from a child who is lonely and wants to talk to someone. Some calls can stay with you for a few days - but you do feel as if you are making a connection and a real difference to someone’s life.
“It is the most rewarding thing that I have done and I want to give something back to the organisation.”
An open registration event for the Walk/Run will take place between 10am and 4pm this Saturday at the Richmond Centre. Alternatively you can register on www.charitygiving.co.uk/williammclaughlin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Linda on 07841996586 or Deirdre on 07791334259.
The entry fee is £6 if registered in advance or £8 on the day. Children/senior citizens can register for a discounted price of £3.