Cathy Kelly, Margaret McLaughlin, Valerie Keeve, Anne McCrossan, Michelle Nee and Lori Keeve, from Letterkenny, pictured taking part in the VHI Women's Mini-Marathon .
Donegal women were among the more than 600 who took part in this year’s VHI Mini-Marathon to support Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.
Ireland has the highest prevalence of cystic fibrosis (CF) in the world and some of the most severe types. More than 1,200 men, women and children live with CF in Ireland.
Cystic Fibrosis Ireland depends on voluntary fundraising and donations to fund 95 per cent of its services, and the mini-marathon is one of its biggest annual fundraisers. The goal was to raise €100,000 for CF services, including support for dedicated CF staff in hospitals, patient support grants in areas such as transplant assessment and fertility treatment, and research.
CF is Ireland’s most common life-threatening inherited disease. The genetic disorder affects the regulation of absorption and secretion of salt and water in various parts of the body, including the lungs, sweat glands, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tracts. This defect inhibits the flow of salt and water through the body’s cells, causing a build-up of thick, sticky mucus, which can clog airways and harbour harmful bacteria. Symptoms vary significantly in severity from mild to debilitating.
The most common symptom is recurrent chest infection, which results in lung damage, with the majority of deaths occurring through respiratory failure.
Campaign ambassador and TV3 Red Rock actress Róisín O'Donovan took part in the mini-marathon. “For me, what makes it so special is joining in a purple sea of women who are doing this not for themselves, not for personal achievement, but for others,” she said. “For people with cystic fibrosis, life is tough enough. Taking part in the mini-marathon is one way of making life that little bit easier for them."
The prevalence of CF in Ireland is almost three times the average rate in other EU countries and the USA. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Registry of Ireland, there were 1,219 people registered with CF in 2015, with 19 years the median age.
Cystic Fibrosis Ireland is dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with CF and their families across Ireland. CFI provides information and education, advice and advocacy, offering grant assistance, undertaking research, funding CF health facilities and clinical staff, and advancing development of lung transplantation.