Four peaks in 48 Hours

by Rachel Cunningham
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Devoted Brother and sister, Nick and Isabelle O’Keeffe, are set to climb four peaks in 48 hours to raise money in memory of their brother, Phil O’Keeffe. 

Phil passed away from sarcoma in January 2022, aged 28, just 16 months after a sarcoma cancer diagnosis. 

The siblings, who are based in Dublin and London, will bring their challenge across Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, with the aim of raising funds for the national bone and soft tissue cancer charity Sarcoma UK. This will also coincide with the end of Sarcoma Awareness Month, this July. 

Commenting on why they are undertaking such a tough endeavour, Isabelle explained: “Phil would have wanted his legacy to help others”. 

Originally from Dublin, Phil had been living in London when he was diagnosed with an alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of sarcoma cancer, in 2020. His treatment consisted of nine rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy at the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre. 

Just three weeks after treatment finished, a scan showed that the cancer had spread. 

He pursued further treatment in London and in Dublin, which were unfortunately unsuccessful. In December 2021, he returned to Ireland to spend his final Christmas with his family and loved ones before his death in January 2022. 

Throughout his treatment, Phil was said to have shown incredible courage, strength and his trademark optimism. 

Phil will be remembered by all of those who knew him for his infectious smile and booming laughter.

“Phil will be remembered by all of those who knew him for his infectious smile and booming laughter. He was a pleasure to be around, and we miss him every day,” his siblings commented. 

“Sarcoma UK is our chosen charity, as Phil was diagnosed in the UK, and the majority of his care was in the UK. We want to raise money to help further research into this rare disease and provide resources and means for those fighting this cancer.

“We feel that providing funding to this charity will better serve people from Ireland, the UK and further afield”, they added. 

The challenge will involve the siblings and friends climbing four peaks across the UK and Ireland in 48 hours. The four peaks will include the 1038m-high Carrauntoohil, in Ireland, Ben Nevis, in Scotland, Scafell Pike, in England and Snowdon, in Wales. 

All funds raised by the challenge will go directly to Sarcoma UK, a national charity that funds vital research, offers support for anyone affected by sarcoma cancer and campaigns for better treatments. 

Isabelle and Nick will document their progress via a video diary, on their social media channels and via their GoFundMe page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/philokeeffe.

Main Image – The O’Keeffe siblings prior to Phil’s tragic death

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