These are the seven magnificent Carndonagh women who recently took part in a National Mini Marathon to raise vital funds for a charity close to all their hearts.
Eileen Hartin and her six daughters ran in the 10km Dublin Flora Women’s mini marathon in June to raise money for local and national cancer services.
The challenge came when two members of the Hartin family were diagnosed with cancer in the past year, so instead of dwelling on the negatives, Eileen gathered up her six daughters and decided to do something about it.
“In October last year my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and in January my sister-in-law was also diagnosed with cancer. Both had to go for treatment, my sister to Letterkenny for chemo and my sister in law had to go to Galway for weekly sessions straight away.
“Doing the marathon was something I always wanted to do, and so when my daughter Claire said the same thing last year, I just said fine, we’re all doing it next year. My other daughter Louise had completed it several times before so it was up to the rest of us to rope everyone else in.
“We thought it would be the prefect idea to split any money we raised between the two cancer centres.”
Having spent time with her sister in law at the centre in Galway, Eileen cannot say enough good things about the place.
“You really have to see it to believe it, it’s better than a home from home! There is no cost involved, you get your breakfast in the morning and dinner in the evening, it takes away a lot of the stress involved in a time like this. If you had to go down and stay in a B&B there are many families that couldn’t afford it.
“I spent a couple of weeks down there with my sister in law and in the whole time I was there, there wasn’t one sad face, despite some people being extremely ill. Everyone looks out for each other, and you’ll never get lonely when you are. There is always something to do and take your mind of the illness.”
As well as the sense of camaraderie in the centre, the Inishowen woman was blown away by the quality of the staff.
“People couldn’t have been nicer the staff were really first class the whole time. The centre provides cancer services for nine counties and the staff try and cater for everyone. They hold the Donegal patients’ treatment on a Monday evening so you can travel down that day and first thing on a Friday morning to allow them to travel home for the weekend. The whole place is fantastic.”
Raising a total of 3650 euro, the Carn women were able to split the cheque evenly with 1825 euro to Galway and the same to Letterkenny.
“We would like to have given more, but there’s always next year. They told us in Galway that every euro counts and that was nice to hear.”
Despite competing alongside over 40,000 people, Eileen said she would recommend the marathon to everyone.
“There is a great atmosphere on the day. There are women in their eighties doing it so if I can do it and they can do it, then anyone can. It is very uplifting when people are there cheering you on, there were live bands playing throughout the city as well. It was a great feeling.”
Eileen said thankfully both her sister and sister-in-law are continuing with treatment but are doing well.