independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Walk a testament to a great hospital

Leo Halpin, Joe Quinn, Dermot Bell and Mick Malone at last year's Oldtown walk.

EVERY YEAR in Oldtown an extraordinary event happens when ex-patients of Cappagh Hospital prove just how valuable the hospital is to people in the north of the county and prove their new found fitness by taking part in a charity walk.

The walk is organised every year by Balbriggan resident, Leo Halpin, who got his hip replaced at the hospital seven years ago and now strides out with other locals who have been given a new lease of life by the dedicated staff at Cappagh Hospital. 'I was in there for a fortnight and I have never had a pain or ache since. I never slept much for years before that and when I came out I wanted to do something for them,' Leo told the Fingal Independent. So the idea was born.

Ex-patients, many not in the first flush of youth, would gather in Oldtown every year and provide living testimony of the great work going on at the hospital by putting their new hips and knees to the test.

'It's an amazing thing. One thing about the walk that is hard to believe is that 11 of the people that take part every year have 1,000 years in age between them,' Leo said.

One of the regular participants in the walk is the tender age of 97 and every year up to 150 people turn out to the small village of Oldtown to take part. Tens of thousands of Euro have been raised by the event over the years and much of it has gone towards MRI scanning equipment at the hospital.

This year's event has been pencilled in for Sunday, September 16th and if you want to participate or just come along and show your support you will be made to feel more than welcome. The 5k walk sets off from the centre of Oldtown at 4pm and is followed by a barbecue, kindly sponsored this year by Supervalu in Balbriggan. Funds raised this year will go towards purchasing a cancer scanning machine for Cappagh Hospital.

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