This is the Derry man who’s about to take on a mammoth 250k Ultra Marathon across the Atacama Crossing in Chile in memory of his late friend Christopher Gallagher who died tragically from malaria almost six years ago.
Diarmuid Bonner was a school friend and university pal of Christy Gallagher. Christy (23), died in 2006 after contracting malaria whilst travelling in Asia.
Diarmuid says he believes the trek he is about to undertake is the sort of adventure Christy would have been up for himself.
“I’ve already climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and trekked through a rainforest in Tanzania for six weeks, so this will be my third expedition,” he said.
To prepare for the trip Diarmiud’s been building himself to 31 km runs - but he says nothing will prepare him for the conditions he’ll have to face in Chile.
“We’ll have to put up with temperatures ranging between 30 and 40 degrees,” he said.
“The Atacama Crossing is one of the driest places in the world averaging less than 1mm of rain per year.”
All the money raised will be donated to Malaria fund of Children in Crossfire, a charity which is run by Christy Gallagher’s parents Martin and Mary.
After Christy’s death Mary and Martin established the ‘Christy Gallagher Memorial Malaria Fund’ with Children in Crossfire to help prevent the deadly disease from claiming the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children.
“It’s just amazing that Diarmiud is doing this in Christopher’s memory,” said Mary. “Christopher’s friends have become a second family to us, almost like second sons.
“Of course we will never forget Christopher but the fact that his friends still think of him so much spurs us on. Martin and I still have good days and bad days but it’s people like Diarmiud who get us through the bad days.”
Up until now Martin and Mary Gallagher have raised in excess of £30,000 to buy malaria nets for Tanzania.
“We are now looking to expand and use the money to train nurses in Tanzania,” explained Martin.
“The money raised will provide full medical training and possibly fund an outreach doctor for rural parts of Tanzania. We are also hoping to use the money in parts of Ethiopia.”