Great gran Joan goes walkabout for a great cause

by Emma Nolan
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A LOCAL great grandmother in her seventies is planning to walk from Dun Laoghaire to Killarney to raise money for cancer awareness.
Joan Flynn from Dun Laoghaire says that while she may be getting old, she is still very active and loves walking.
“I’m 70-ish and I used to run, I don’t anymore, but I walk quite a bit.”
Joan’s husband was diagnosed with late stage prostate cancer five years ago and because it wasn’t discovered early, it was inoperable.
“My husband and I are separated but he’s in the last stages of cancer, he was diagnosed five years ago with prostate cancer but it was too late. It had travelled into his bones and was inoperable and now we’ve been told that the chemo isn’t going to work and he’s in quite a bit of pain.”
Joan wants to raise awareness around the importance of going for regular checks if there is a history of cancer in the family, by doing what she does best; walking.
“I just thought, I have to do something,” she said.
Her husband’s diagnosis, the death of her friend from a brain tumour a few years ago and the recent prostate cancer diagnosis of her brother in law have inspired Joan to undertake this massive challenge.
“I can’t do anything but I can walk. I just thought I have to do something to try and raise awareness – people just don’t get checked often enough.”
Having fundraised and donated money to Crumlin Children’s Hospital all her life, Joan also hopes that she will be able to donate some of the proceeds there too.
Joan has set the date for the walk for the 23rd of July, and while she’s still figuring out her route, she estimates that the entire journey will take her around two weeks, if she walks about 20 to 25 km a day.
“Getting to Killarney is all very well if you’re driving, but walking is a totally different ballgame – there are motorways everywhere!
“I reckon it will take me a little over two weeks.”
Joan is also hoping that if she raises enough awareness that people will put her up for the night along the way.
She is also in the process of setting up an Every Day Hero page to raise funds. The Gazette will be following Joan on her journey.

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