By Kim O’Leary
Two friends recently ran a half-marathon to raise much needed funds for St Luke’s oncology unit in Dublin.
Rachel Crean and her family are originally from Greystones in Wicklow and she set up a GoFundMe campaign to do a half-marathon in loving memory of her late younger brother Andy, who sadly passed away from cancer last year.
Rachel and her good friend Nicky Doyle, herself a survivor of breast cancer, ran the half-marathon on June 26 starting in Kilbarrack and ending at Sandycove in Dublin with a cool dip in the sea surrounded by family and friends.
Speaking to the Dublin Gazette this week, Rachel said: “It was brilliant to cross the finish line in Sandycove with Nicky, we jumped into the sea, we got amazing support from family and friends. My brother Andy passed away on May 3 last year after battling a brain tumour for five years, he was diagnosed in August 2015.
“Andy was the most courageous person possible. He was only 29-years-old when he died and he was my baby brother, there’s three of us and he was the youngest. He was so funny and humorous, he was so friendly to everyone and didn’t have a bad bone in his body, everyone loved him,” she added.
Andy had a very close relationship with St Luke’s oncology unit in Dublin where he underwent radiotherapy, and chose them for fundraising activities on a number of occasions. ‘When I needed St. Luke’s, they were there for me. Now it’s my turn to give back.’- Andrew Kenny, Movember 2017.
“St Luke’s were a huge part of Andy’s treatment, he had a few rounds of radiotherapy there. My parents describe it as feeling not like a hospital as it’s so airy and bright, the staff are so lovely and friendly, and the grounds are beautiful for a walk. Andy had a social worker and she organised a comfort dog to come in the last day of his treatment, it’s just a lovely environment,” said Rachel.
In the year since Andy’s sad passing, Rachel and her family have decided to fundraise and help support the incredible work being done by staff at St Luke’s.
According to Rachel, the GoFundMe campaign was set up in early June and she said that they are ‘overwhelmed’ by the number of donations and the support from the communities in both Dublin and Wicklow.
“We are overwhelmed by the response to the fundraiser, in the year that it was with Covid-19 and everything I set the goal at about €500, within an hour of posting we started getting donations and the momentum was incredible. Every day it went up and by day three it was at €6,500,” explained Rachel.
She described the success of the GoFundMe campaign as a huge testament to Andy and the support that his family have received over the last year.
“Many of the people who donated have seen cancer touch their families or someone they know, it shows you don’t know what people are going through with cancer.”
According to Rachel, the GoFundMe has now at the time of writing raised €14,780 in total and they are hopeful that it might just reach €15,000.
Before Christmas time WebSummit organised a fundraiser in Andy’s memory as he previously worked there and this campaign saw a whopping €40,000 raised in total.
“We may do more fundraisers in a few months but next we want to a get a tree planted in Andy’s memory at Greystones,” said Rachel.
The money from the half-marathon GoFundMe campaign will go towards ensuring that the St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Centres continue to be well-equipped, warm, friendly and comfortable facilities for patients undergoing treatment.
To donate to this worthy campaign and to support St Luke’s visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/8yq7z-run-for-andy