Thursday, September 09, 2021

Pieta House Funding & Advocacy Manager John Dempsey in Knockanore receiving the wonderful cheque from the organisers of the Shamrocks LGFA Club Run4Pieta Fundraiser.

The GAA clubs of Waterford are not only great on the field but off it too.

Last weekend Shamrocks Ladies Gaelic Football Club presented a cheque for €6,000 to Pieta House.

The Pieta House charity provides free therapy to those engaging in self harm, or to anyone bereaved by suicide who seeks their help. The money was raised by Shamrocks during their recent Run4Pieta Fundraiser held on the weekend of June 25th. The club’s players, families and supporters, ran, walked or cycled in 30-minute slots over a 24 hour period. The highways and byways around Knockanore and Tallow and the club’s home pitch at J.F. Kennedy Park were busy places as the community came together to make a difference. At the end of the weekend a phenomenal €8,410 had been raised, €6,000 being donated to Pieta with the remaining €2,410 used for the future development of the Knockanore based Shamrocks club. Part of the club’s share of the fundraiser has already been put to good use with the purchase of a new set of jerseys for the club’s Under 8 team, which proudly displays the Pieta logo.

This wasn’t the first time Shamrocks have fundraised for Pieta House. During the 2020 lockdown the club raised €5,000 when its players took part in a “Skills at Sunrise” Challenge on the morning of Pieta’s Darkness into Light appeal. This year the club surpassed that amount by some distance. Shamrocks Chairperson Brendan Ormonde explained: “We saw that Pieta House had held a very successful Run4Pieta event in 2020 and were calling on GAA clubs to get involved again this year. This time there was the added incentive that Pieta would share funds raised with participating clubs.”

The current Covid-19 restrictions meant that running a fundraiser involving a large gathering of people was a non-runner. It was felt that running an event over a 24-hour period would be logistically more feasible and allow much needed money to be raised for this worthy cause. Brendan added: “The Run4Pieta fundraiser was perfect as it enabled all members of the club and the wider community to participate and contribute while maintaining social distancing. The aim was to have someone running, walking, or cycling at all times during a 24-hour period from 7.00pm on Friday June 25th to 7.00pm the following day.”

Players from the club’s Under 6 team up to the adult Junior team, along with family members and supporters, were allocated 30-minute slots. Over the 24-hour period more than 200 people took part collectively covering a distance of almost 1300Kms. Donations were collected online, with the club initially setting a target to raise €2,000. It was clear from an early stage that the target was going to be surpassed. AIB’s pledge to match all donations made to Pieta House left the club with a grand total raised of €8,410. The charity provides over 52000 hours of free counselling every year and relies on the generosity of the public as donations make up over 80% of their income.

Pieta House Funding & Advocacy Manager John Dempsey was in Knockanore to receive the cheque from the Shamrocks club and added “The current Covid 19 pandemic has brought about more awareness of mental health issues. Effects on physical health, the loss of loved ones, the loss of employment; there is a whole range of issues that have come about because of the pandemic. In Gaelic games, as in any sport, it’s always important to make players, management, and supporters aware that there is help available. There are contacts and supports that are trained to assist people in need.”

Shamrocks’ chairperson concluded by saying, “we would like to offer a massive thank you to everyone who got involved and who donated. The wonderful generosity of people will help save lives by supporting Pieta House. These fundraising events would not be possible without the support of the club’s players, families and the wider community of Knockanore and Tallow.”

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