Back in May we were delighted to join Rory Best and his wife Jodie for part of their walk from the Aviva Stadium in Dublin to Cong, Co. Mayo. Rory’s Miles2Mayo has a fundraising target of 2 million Euro to build a second Daisy Lodge therapeutic support centre.
For anyone not familiar with the mammoth challenge, in September 2021 Rory walked from Newcastle Co. Down to Con Co. Mayo raising a phenomenal 1 Million Euro and in May 2023, he stepped forward once again.
The Daisy Lodge is a therapeutic short break centre for children and their families impacted by cancer across Ireland. The first Daisy Lodge in Newcastle Co Down is a vital resource for families to spend quality time together in a safe and supportive environment, far removed from the pressures of cancer treatment and hospital wards.
The Alchemy Team joined the walk on day 9 (of 10) meeting the RM2M trekkers in Clarinbridge Co. Galway before heading off towards Eyre Square in Galway City. For a group of people who had clocked in almost 300km over 9 days their energy and determination was palpable.
Rory and Jodie were flanked by several members of the Cancer Fund for Children Team including a support vehicle, bucket collectors and traffic directors (who were much needed as we encountered a fender bender by one driver who was distracted by the sight of the former Ireland Rugby Captain trekking through a country road in Galway!).
It became very clear, very quickly that we were walking with a professional athlete as the “walking” pace caused one Alchemist’s fitness watch to ask her if she would like to track her jog…This walk was not for the faint hearted and especially during the heatwave some regretted not wearing attire more suited to road running.
The conversation was light and flowed freely, it was great to talk to the team about how they were dealing mentally and physically with the finish line and 330km within touching distance. It was also great to talk to Rory and Jodie about the walk but also Rory’s days as Ireland Captain and family life in the international rugby world.
As we made our way into Oranmore we were greeted by schoolchildren lining the streets shouting for Rory and encouraging everyone along the way. Needless to say, our team were glad to end our walk there and indulge in a well-earned cold drink!
On day 10 the Alchemy team made their way (by car!) to Cong Co. Mayo (home to the Quiet Man and Ashford Castle) to congratulate Rory and Jodie and welcome them to the finish line. It was most definitely a hero’s welcome and with an ice-cold pint of Guinness ready for Rory as he thanked the team and his family for their support in completing the walk.
There was no time for rest as we headed back to Ballinasloe for the Gala dinner for sponsors, friends, family, service users and other invited guests. It was a truly fitting celebration hosted by former Ulster and Ireland rugby star and Ireland AM host Tommy Bowe. We laughed and cried as we watched the highlights of the 10 days and videos produced by Cancer Fund for Children highlighting the amazing work they do. A young man who’s family use Daisy Lodge spoke about how much the facility meant to his family and how they had been supported through his 3 cancer diagnoses.
It was an inspirational evening with lots of fun along the way with a well-deserved standing ovation for Rory and Jodie (who surprisingly still had lots of energy to dance the night away!).
You can still donate to Rorys Miles2Mayo via https://rorysmiles2mayo.com/donate/