TOM Moran, owner of the Moran & Bewley’s Hotel Group, which includes the Red Cow Inn, raised more than his target of €100,000 for local charity, Pieta House, after he completed a 250km walk last week.
The 61-year-old finished the walk, which he named “the Tomathon”, with his family, friends and some famous faces, including Irish Olympic legend Ronnie Delaney, Tipperary hurler Noel McGrath, Dublin footballer Eoghan O’Gara, and model Andrea Roche.
His Tomathon began in Athea in Co Limerick on Tuesday, September 11, and finished last week at the Red Cow Inn, coinciding with the 24th anniversary of when Tom first arrived at the hotel.
Moran undertook the fundraising walk after being awarded the title Limerick Person of the Year by the Limerick GAA Supporters Club.
While delighted with and proud of the award, he admitted that he felt that the title spurred him on to do something which he felt was worthy of the honour.
Through this walk, Moran hoped to raise awareness about suicide, to remind people in distress where they can go for help, and to raise as much money as possible for Pieta House.
He said: “I am hoping this walk will strike a chord with many people who have been affected – either directly or indirectly – by the grim reality of suicide in this country.
“I feel the Tomathon is a positive response to that reality. [It is] an opportunity to get together with friends and neighbours to do something collectively to help Pieta House continue with their vital work.
“The Tomathon is an affirmation of the power of the community, and how, when we work together, we can make a real difference,” he said.
Suicide is a growing problem in Ireland, and something that affects families, communities and towns all over the country. Moran was inspired to support Pieta House, in particular, because he knows many people personally who have been affected by the suicide of a loved one.
Pieta House, the suicide and self-harm crisis centre, provides a professional, face-to-face, free of charge therapeutic service for people in acute stages of distress.
Since 2006, they have grown to include almost 80 therapists and staff across their five centres in Dublin and Limerick, and more than 6,000 people have sought help from them, to date.