I am by no means looking for praise. Plenty of people do amazing things for charity, plenty of people walk further, do more, raise more and work harder. But I’ve wanted to write a post like this for a while, and after I arrived home yesterday on a complete high from an amazing morning with my sister Claire, walking the trails of forest and woodlands around Tinahely, I decided now is as good a time as any.
I have always been a massive supporter of Pieta House. We both have. It’s an amazing service that does amazing things and saves lives, offering one-to-one therapy services free of charge to people who need it and their families. We’ve done the Darkness into Light walk for the past couple of years and having not been directly effected by suicide at the time, we still found it a very breathtaking and emotional experience, walking in unison with so many people for one amazing cause as the light appears in the morning. So it’s safe to say that a sponsored hill walk in Tinahely is quite possibly something we would have been only delighted to do, regardless of our circumstances. But as it happens, we had an extra reason to do it.
We lost our cousin Niall to suicide this summer and are still devastated by it. No words can explain what an amazing person he was, but I’m going to do my best. He was an amazing language teacher who cared so much about his students. He was a phenomenally talented musician, bringing joy to everyone with the inevitable sessions we would insist upon at family gatherings. He was a great lifeguard, who loved to surf, an incredibly talented artist and one of the most compassionate, kindest and warmest people I’ve ever had in my life. So many stories have emerged since his passing that proved how many lives he touched and changed for the better, how many people he spoke to and helped through their own problems, even though nothing made him feel better, he made so many others feel incredible.
Like I said, no amount of words could sum Niall up, he was simply too amazing as a person to do that. But I wanted to give people a small glimpse into who he was because while I always found Pieta House an amazing service to support, I now have this phenomenal person up there helping to spur me on, and when Claire and I were trekking through the forest yesterday morning on a gloriously sunny day, we thought of Niall every step of the way.
I’m so glad we were able to do it and our sponsorship well surpassed what we thought we might make and I am so humbled and incredibly grateful to everyone who donated, you all know who you are. Collectively and as of this moment, Claire and I made €1011. For those of you who want to make a donation to Pieta House, you can do so on my fundraising page. The funds there go directly to Pieta House and €1,000 supports one person and their family through one-to-one therapy sessions, which could save someone and help them see light at the end of a dark tunnel. You can donate as much or as little as you want on my fundraising page here.
I’m so glad we were able to do this for Pieta House and for Niall especially.