Thursday 27 July 2017

Woman who lost her best friend in tragic accident last year crosses finish line in her memory

Jenna-Eve Smyth with best friend Emma O'Rourke. Jenna-Eve tragically died in a car accident in June 2016
Jenna-Eve Smyth with best friend Emma O'Rourke. Jenna-Eve tragically died in a car accident in June 2016

Laura Lynott

A best friend is a cherished gift and for Emma O'Rourke running with a picture of Jenna-Eve emblazoned across her T-shirt was the closest she could be to her once again.

Emma (25) from Drumcondra, ran Monday's Vhi Women's Mini Marathon with only one person in her thoughts - her beloved friend, Jenna-Eve Smyth.

Jenna-Eve, a 25-year-old DCU graduate, died almost one year ago on June 18, after a tragic car crash in Enfield, Co Meath.

"Jenna-Eve was such a good friend, the funniest person, who always put a smile on anyone's face.

Jenna-Eve Smyth with best friend Emma O'Rourke. Jenna-Eve tragically died in a car accident in June 2016
Jenna-Eve Smyth with best friend Emma O'Rourke. Jenna-Eve tragically died in a car accident in June 2016

"She always wanted to hear people's stories and loved having fun," Emma said.

"We knew each other from going to school together, where we were both originally from in Mullingar, Co Westmeath but when we met at university, that was it - we became really close because we both loved going out so much. We had a lot of fun together."

The two friends became inseparable and poignantly one of the memories Emma now holds closest is of a run they both took part in not long before the tragedy.

"We ran the Virgin Media Night Run in 2016 together, so I thought it would be a fitting tribute to Jenna-Eve to run in the Dublin Mini Marathon with her photo on my T-Shirt.

"That way I feel like she's with me as I run," Emma said.

Emma is raising funds for the Irish Road Victims Association, which looks after crash survivors and helps their families in the aftermath of losing someone or dealing with life after a collision.

The group offers invaluable support to all the faces behind road-death statistics released every year.

Emma is acutely aware of how the non-governmental organisation supports people left to deal with the biggest loss anyone can bear.

"It's such a sudden and horrible event to happen to anyone," Emma, a digital marketing executive, said.

"I'm delighted I'll be running with her picture on my T-shirt and for a charity that means so much to families like hers."

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