WE all have our own mountains to climb and four inspirational Kerry women, resident at Oceanview Nursing Home in Camp, recently completed a major challenge by amassing 1,000 minutes of walking over a four week period through their participation in the Irish Heart Foundation's Walk for Heart Challenge.
Tralee's Catherine LaHaye (78), Mary Prendiville, from Lispole, Camp local Eileen Dennehy (81) and Kathleen Kenny, of Maharees, inspired a fitness revolution of their own by putting their best foot forward over the past month by walking the grounds and corridors of Oceanview, averaging 30 minutes of walking activity per day under the stewardship of activities coordinator Myra Spillane from Blennerville.
The result was truly inspirational and many of the staff, including Kay O'Shea, Inch, Caitríona O'Connor, Mary Foley and Helen Foley joined their ladies in the challenge.
Catherine, a former employee with The Kerryman and her good friend Mary, whose nephew Niall measured the perimeter of the Oceanview grounds enabling them to calculate their progress more accurately, were soon taking on five rounds outside per day, which saw them often cover 1km, or even more. Meanwhile Kathleen took things at her own pace and as a native of Maharees, told The Kerryman how the walking reminded her of strolling on the beaches of Castlegregory.
However for Camp local Eileen Dennehy the challenge took on a whole new meaning, motivating her to overcome a lifetime of pain and trauma following a serious injury she sustained as a small child. Considering the difficult path she had to take through life, the completion of this challenge is particularly gratifying.
"I fell off a pony when I was four-years-old and was taken to a hospital in Dublin where I stayed for four and a half years," she said.
"I was all alone and I couldn't get out of bed. It was during the war and we could hear the planes overhead. We were terrified but we couldn't move. I then had an operation where my leg was opened up from my backbone to my knee."
"Walking has always been difficult but to do this, even on the days when I could only walk for five minutes, it has been so special; it proves I can walk, I can do it!"
According to activities coordinator Myra Spillane, who was awarded an IHF Community Walking Leader Certificate last year, the aim was to get people moving, something the staff and residents who participated achieved in spades.
"We are lucky at Oceanview as there is a safe walk way around the perimeter of the building with a landscaped garden and a spectacular view of the sea," she said.
"We were all inspired by Catherine, Mary, Kathleen and Eileen whose efforts have been recognised by the Irish Heart Foundation and who have received special certificates along with the staff members who also completed this challenge."
"We are all proud of them and they should be extremely proud of themselves and what they have achieved."