In the latest edition of our Dubliners series, we talk to Karina, a Blanchardstown native who will be representing Dublin in VHI’s #WomenWithImpact campaign in the Mini Marathon this year.

“I’m Karina Cahill from Blanchardstown and this is my story.

I’m sure it will hit home for some people as they may have gone through a similar experience as myself or are currently going through it.

I recently found out I’ve been chosen to represent Dublin in the 2019 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon’s #WomenwithImpact campaign.

I’m thrilled to be selected and to get to share my story about how I came to enter the Mini Marathon.

I’m also thrilled to share why I have chosen St Francis Hospice as my charity.

In 2011 I did my first 10k Women’s Mini Marathon.

At the time, I just did it to help raise money for charity, as my mother had passed away in November 2010 and I wanted to give something back.

However, it wasn’t until 2017 that I did my next one.

When I completed it I said to my friend that every year from now on I’m going to try get better on my times just to push myself a little.

I started off by just doing a 20 minute walk every few days.

Now I walk an hour 5 to 6 days a week and try get into a jog for about 10 to 15 minutes.

I am not an avid jogger but I do try, and a little a day can go a long way.

In 2018 my eldest brother Paul was going through a rare cancer which impacted on his ability to walk and he had to get around in a wheelchair.

Yet despite all he was going through, he was determined that he would walk properly again one day.

He was admitted into St Francis Hospice in Blanchardstown, and after being there for some time getting physio and some well-deserved rest, I said: “I’m going to do the Mini Marathon for you bro, and for every step I take, it’s two for you.”

He was delighted and helped me raise money for the hospice who I chose as my charity.

Paul was still in the hospice the day I did the Mini Marathon.

When I completed it, I went up to him with my medal and said “this belongs to you”.

He was delighted and said how proud our mam would have been that I not only completed it but I had improved my time.

As we sat talking I said jokingly, I’ll get better next year.

Unfortunately my brother Paul passed away in September 2018.

The staff in the hospice were so fantastic, and as Paul was there for over 6 months we became very fond of the staff and could see the impact these guys had on the lives of the patients and their families.

St Francis Hospice is not just a place where our loved ones go to pass away.

They have many facilities that include day care, physiotherapy and relaxation, as well as having a small salon to make their patients feel better in themselves.

Before my brother passed away, he attended St Francis Hospice day care where he would go once a week and meet people who were going through life changing illnesses and did art classes as well as using the above facilities I have mentioned.

The money that I raise by doing the Mini Marathon this year will go towards supporting all of these facilities, as well as other areas within the hospice.

As this year began, I wanted to keep my promise to my brother and continue doing the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, so when I saw the opportunity to represent my county for the #Womenwithimpact campaign, I submitted my story.

I never thought I’d be picked as I’m sure 100s of applications went forward but I am delighted to have been selected.

My focus is to beat my time even if it’s only by a minute and to raise as much funds as possible for St Francis Hospice.

If you’d like to join me on June 2, enter now at www.vhiwomensminimarathon.ie, and I’ll see you at the start line!”