Kathleen’s Causeway of Coins, the fundraiser for Donegal Hospice, has raised more than €92,000.
The family of the late Kathleen Ruddy launched the fundraiser in February, to raise money for Donegal Hospice in her memory, in gratitude for the treatment she received. Kathleen passed away last November.
Last week marked the culmination of a the unique initiative, which saw Kathleen’s family, friends and other supporters trace the 3km from her Crievesmith Park home to Donegal Hospice with 2-euro and 50-cent coins.
They reached the hospice gates at about 6.30pm on Friday, with Kathleen’s husband, Daniel, and children Mary Lane, Carol Murphy and John bringing the causeway along the final stretch.
It was a poignant close to the week. Daniel’s voice broke with emotion when he said, “Just about a year and three months ago, Kathleen's sister Imelda said to me that we were going to be on a journey, and we've just finished it.”
People gathered at the hospice for the conclusion applauded when the family finished the route.
“There's just been such an amazing response,” Mary Lane said. “People have been so good and I think the whole community has just embraced us this week, and indeed all the events that were going on beforehand have come together.”
Kathleen was active in Letterkenny’s musical community, staging and directing shows, co-writing a musical adaptation of Séamus Ó Grianna’s Caisleáin Óir and producing shows by The Rainbow Theatre Group, among others.
Members of the public have held dozens of events across the county to support the effort in the months since the launch. As the causeway made its way last week from Crievesmith Park, across Oldtown bridge, along the Main Street and High Road, and up the Kilmacrennan road to the hospice, donations kept coming.
Mary told those gathered on Friday, “It’s just been such a journey and we’re so appreciative to everybody who has participated in any way.”
Dr James McDaid, president and chairperson of Donegal Hospice, was among those present. Calling the fundraiser, “a phenomenal achievement”, he said the response showed how much the public thought of Kathleen and her family, “and how the people of Letterkenny and Donegal actually put their backs behind what they were trying to achieve”.
He said it was also a credit to the work of the hospice staff. “You feel emotional,” he said. “You really do feel emotional.”
Pictured: An emotional moment as the Ruddy family thank everyone who helped them on their journey with their very successful fundraiser.