A Donegal woman is running this year’s Dublin marathon in memory of her father, to benefit the Irish Cancer Society.
Patrick, or Paddy, O’Donnell passed away in February of 2012 at age 49. His daughter Sinead Martin has already surpassed the fundraising goal she set for herself in running the marathon, and is still collecting donations.
She also hopes to break her personal best time in the marathon run.
Sinead had set a fundraising target of €4,900 – €100 for each year of her father’s life – and the money she is raising for the Irish Cancer Society is already hitting €6,000.
While she has already run three marathons, Sinead said this coming marathon on Sunday, October 30th, will hold the most importance and personal value for her.
Paddy O’Donnell was from Dungloe but moved to Ballyshannon in the 1980s after meeting his future wife, Sandra Ward.
Sinead has set up a page at Just Giving that explains her reasons for running the marathon and accepts donations to her fundraising effort for the Irish Cancer Society. The Facebook page, Donate for Paddy O’Donnell, is tracking the fundraising.
Raised in Cashelacken, Ballyshannon, Sinead has lived in Loughrea, Galway for the past 13 years. She and her husband, Brian, have three children, Ryan, 4; Dara, 3; and Emma, 2. Her sister Aisling also has a young son Paddy, named after their father.
Sinead was 27 and pregnant with her first child when her father passed away. She said the grief she experienced “in the days, weeks and months that followed was tough”. She decided to do something in his memory.
On Just Giving, Sinead describes her father as, “a great man, so giving to everyone without expecting anything in return. He was easy to chat to and have the craic with and had many friends from all walks of life because of it”.
Paddy also worked at the Allingham Arms Hotel in Bundoran for 19 years and was very well known through his work as well, she said. Sinead said that while fundraising she has met many people who knew her father.
”I didn’t know who they were, but they knew me,” she said.
Sinead also spoke of the dual nature of her awareness-raising effort. Not only does she want to promote and support the Irish Cancer Society, but she wants to raise awareness of the journey people experience through grief, explaining that, “Everyone is on a different journey.” She has written about her own journey through grief at her Just Giving page.
On Facebook they also track the generosity of people they have met while fundraising. They have held bucket collections in SuperValu in Bundoran and SuperValu in Loughrea, raising hundreds of euro, and did two days’ collecting in Donegal town, raising €1,669 one day in September and €1,852 one day in July.
Sinead’s Just Giving page is at https://www.justgiving .com/fundraising/Sinead-Martin1