Derry woman raises over £6,000 in memory of late husband

Derry woman Amanda Ross raised £6,817 for Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke (NICHS) earlier this year in memory of her husband Barney.

Barney was only 60 years old when he died suddenly in August 2021 from a heart attack so Amanda, along with her friends and family, undertook the NICHS Red Dress Fun Run to raise funds for the charity.

Amanda said: “We wanted to take part in the Red Dress Fun Run to help raise awareness of the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack and to encourage people to get checked out if something doesn’t seem right.

“Barney experienced some heart attack symptoms, but he didn’t tell anyone, he just put them down to other things. He didn’t contact his doctor and I believe if he had gone to get checked out I wouldn’t be sitting here as a widow today.

Amanda Ross and family presenting their Red Dress Fun Run fundraising cheque to Mona Duddy, NICHS Care Services Co-ordinator.

“To have raised £6,817 for Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke is just amazing. Our involvement has not only helped raised vital funds for the charity’s work but has also helped raise awareness of heart health amongst the local community which we are delighted about.

“Our entire family now have the running bug thanks to the Red Dress Fun Run and personally I found it a great motivator to keep fit and healthy, mentally as well as physically. We are now planning to take part in the Waterside Half Marathon in September in support of NICHS.

“Next year I will be organising a virtual Red Dress Fun Run for people in the Derry area which will take place on the same day as the live Stormont event. Everyone is welcome to come and join the fun so please keep an eye on the NICHS website for more information coming soon and to register your interest in the event.”

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Derry woman running Red Dress Fun Run in memory of husband
Mona Duddy, NICHS Care Services Co-ordinator receiving a cheque from Rachel Dobbins and Danielle Francis from Foyle Search and Rescue.

The team at Foyle Search and Rescue wanted to raise awareness and money for NICHS as they know all too well how crucial fundraising is to a charity.

Danielle said: “This walk was also for those family and friends of our staff and volunteers who have passed away or been impacted by chest, heart and stroke conditions. We hope this money helps to support those suffering with life-changing illnesses and will help fund future research into the prevention of these illnesses. Thank you to each and every person who supported us and donated.”

All together, the Derry team raised £9,213 for NICHS, which was a fifth of the overall total raised by the event.

Nadia Duncan, Events and Marketing Manager at NICHS said: “We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who either came to the live event or took part in the Red Dress Run Fun virtually. The support we received this year was phenomenal and to raise £50,000 is just fantastic.

“As a charity, we rely on the public’s support because almost 90% of our care and prevention services and research projects are funded exclusively by donations. Fundraising efforts like Amanda’s, Danielle’s and the other volunteers from Foyle Search and Rescue are vital to what our charity can achieve. The funds they have helped raise will be vital in enabling us to continue to support the thousands of local people who need us and to provide life-changing services for them and their families.”

Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke’s charity partner MACE supported the Red Dress Fun Run. Diane Anthony from MACE said: “We are so proud to support NICHS, and this fantastic event, for another year. It was great to see so many people, like Amanda and the volunteers at Foyle Search and Rescue, get behind this worthy cause. We are already looking forward to next year’s Red Dress Fun Run and playing our part in raising vital funds to help local people from across Northern Ireland.”

Planning is already underway for next year’s event and NICHS want to make it even bigger and better. Nadia said: “We are delighted to announce the date for next year’s live Red Dress Fun Run is Sunday February 26, 2023 so get the date in your diary now! The success of this year’s event has been tremendous, and we have been blown away by the generosity of everyone who took part, and everyone who donated. We want to extend a big thank you to all our supporters and hope to see even more people sign up for the 2023 event.”

To sign up for the 2023 Red Dress Fun Run, visit www.nichs.org.uk/RedDressRun. For more information on the range of support services available from NICHS, visit nichs.org.uk/our-support-services