Donegal reflects on another amazing Relay for Life

first_imgDonegal came together to celebrate, remember and fight back as the eighth Relay for Life in the county drew to a close on Sunday evening following an event that continues to fight the blight of cancer and the devastating effects it has on families and communities.Several thousand people descended on the LYIT campus to take part in a moving and memorable twenty-four hours of music and ceremony.At the end of it all on Sunday, Relay for Life committee treasurer, Drew Corry, announced that over 60,000 euro had been raised to be channelled through the Irish Cancer Society to help provide care and emotional support to cancer patients and their families throughout Donegal. By the time, the official presentation night come around in early September, that figure will have raised significantly with monies still to come in from participating teams and other sources.But as another Relay heads into the shade for another year, the memories of the latest one will abide.Twenty-four hours of emotions circulating the LYIT track and the atmosphere in general. And much laughter and lunacy besides…!The Survivors Choir had introduced proceedings with their version of the classic ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ as the countdown clock ticked into action. From then on, it was friends, families, carers (largely amounting to the same grouping) and the thirty-five teams taking part and those along to support the event who were helping this worthiest of causes.Continuing to grow awareness and to raise that vital funding required to go to research and care.‘HOPE’ and ‘CURE’ – two words that are literally lit up during the emotionally charged Luminaria ceremony – a vast array of candles flanking the track and in the centre of the arena, a table set. The Lone Table.“There are too many empty chairs at too many tables, too many mealtimes where laughter and conversation have been replaced by silence and sorrow, too many reminders of the devastation cancer has caused in our families and our communities,” Donal Kavanagh summed up the sentiment of the evening and of the event. The reason why so many thousands of people come along to Relay for Life every year in Letterkenny.One of those who has attended each and every one of those years is Moya Brennan who, along with her family, performs a haunting backdrop to the Candle of Hope ceremony as dusk envelopes into darkness on the Saturday of the Relay. This year, too, the international element is embraced – and in a unique departure Letterkenny native, Lt. Col. Paul Kelly, commanding officer of the 114 Infantry Battalion, introducing some of the Donegal contingent, via video link, who had recently been deployed to South Lebanon on U.N. peace keeping duties.And Relay for Life committee member, Seamus Devine, giving the surprise of his life when his daughter, Catherine, appears on the big screen at the LYIT campus, all the way from her base in India!The Gospel Hour and Ecumenical Service, broadcast live during the Aidan Murphy show on Sunday morning, also wrought strong emotions through the voices and music of all the participants capturing the mood of the entire Relay experience.And two courageous people in the form of Gemma Carroll and John Hayden sharing their own stories and the cancer journeys they respectively undertook.Each of them part of the celebration of the lives of those who have survived a diagnosis, as Charlie Collins, M.C., remarked at the outset of the Luminaria Ceremony on the previous evening. And always remembering those who didn’t make it as the fight goes on.But this was a weekend full of laughter and fun at every corner even in the depths of the night when spirits were kept high among all the participating teams.A group of young women quite literally offered a part of themselves to the weekend – agreeing to have their ponytails cut for donation to the Little Princess Trust who, in turn, will have the hair made into wigs for cancer patients.In his closing remarks on Sunday, Relay for Life Donegal,chairperson Robert O’Connor paid particular tribute to all the young people involved in the Relay event.“I’m thinking of those involved with OGRA, Letterkenny, Pobailscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, and the Loreto schools in Milford and Letterkenny. Sometimes young people get a bad press but these young people were so well behaved over the twenty-four hours and so helpful when required. They were, and are, a great example to their parents and their schools.”The chairperson also acknowledged all who had been involved in Relay for Life in the organising and during the event.He thanked Ben Sweeney for storage facilities, the Mount Errigal Hotel for hosting meetings, Highland Radio and the local media for their unstinting coverage, Paul Hannigan and the LYIT for providing the facilities, and the canteen staff.Tributes, too, to Paddy Bradley for organising the entertainment artists and Denis Curran who helped on stage. “And all the performers, musicians and singers, who gave their time to the cause and kept the show going.”Robert also praised the organising committee who had put so much effort into all aspects of it in the build up to Relay 2019 and during it. “They are a remarkable team of people and I can’t say enough about their contribution.“And any new members who would like to come on board, we’d be delighted to have them.”Donegal reflects on another amazing Relay for Life was last modified: May 29th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalletterkennyRelay for Lifelast_img