Speakers share their personal journeys during Inspire '17 in Donegal town

Carolyn Farrar

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Carolyn Farrar

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carolyn.farrar@donegaldemocrat.com

Speakers share their personal journeys during Inspire '17 in Donegal town

Joe Coyle with speakers, Liam Currams, Offaly All Ireland Football and Hurling winner; Eugene McGee, Former Offaly All Ireland Winning Manager; and Donal Reid. (jmac.ie)

Motivational speakers gripped the audience with stories of their personal journeys last weekend at Inspire ‘17.

Joe Coyle organised the event, which was held at Solis Lough Eske Castle to benefit Pieta House services in the north west.

“I think the crowd were very, very pleased with their experience on the day,” Joe said.

Speaker Jason Black, Letterkenny businessman and adventurer, detailed his 2013 journey to the top of Everest, “not just the physical journey but the emotional journey and the challenges he faced emotionally and physically to make that journey happen”, Joe recalled. 

Nikki Bradley of Letterkenny, who has battled Ewing’s Sarcoma, held the attention of the audience as she told of her medical journey from her diagnosis, to hip replacement surgery, to Fighting Fit for Ewing’s, the campaign she began when she was told she would use crutches permanently. This campaign is based on demanding physical challenges to highlight the importance of exercise for rehabilitation while raising awareness for Ewing's Sarcoma. 

Donal Reid, 1992 All-Ireland Gaelic footballer and author of “Confessions of a Gaelic Footballer”, spoke of his experience with depression.

“By sharing his story he gave people in the room, or people known to people in the room, permission to tell somebody that they’re not feeling as well as they might,” Joe said. “By doing that he has made a massive contribution, as far as I’m concerned.”

Liam Currams, originally from Offaly, had a spectacular sporting career that saw him win an All-Ireland in football and in hurling, and become one of four to win dual All-Star honours. He also shared his experience with depression. “His story empowered people to know it’s okay not to be okay,” Joe said.

Cindy O’Connor, chief clinical officer with Pieta House, told the story of the organisation, which has grown from treating 70 people in 2006 to treating 6,000 people last year. She also again confirmed that Pieta House is to open in Letterkenny in April of this year.

Gerry Duffy from Mullingar, who ran 32 marathons in 32 days and is now a professional trainer and business coach; and Donagh Kelly, originally from Donegal town, who is CEO of KN Group, also addressed the crowd.

There were two Inspire ‘17 prizes awarded: The junior prize went to Elin Gallen from Ballybofey, for her participation in swimathons for Crumlin’s Children’s Hospital in the last two years; and the senior medal went to Denis O’Donnell of Arranmore Island, who in the last two years has run six marathons at his own expense, raising more than €10,000 for local charities.

Organisers thanked Solis Lough Eske, the speakers, those who attended and supported Pieta House, as well as all who helped to make the event possible.