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Dublin legend climbs the Hill for Jack & Jill

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GAA legend John O'Leary climbs Hill 16 with his son Tom (3) at Croke Park in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Shane O'Neill

GAA legend John O'Leary climbs Hill 16 with his son Tom (3) at Croke Park in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Shane O'Neill

Shane O'Neill Fennell Photograph

GAA legend John O'Leary climbs Hill 16 with his son Tom (3) at Croke Park in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Shane O'Neill

TWO-TIME All-Ireland winning goalkeeper John O'Leary has appealed to the public to get behind a special fundraising campaign for the Jack & Jill Foundation.

The legendary Dublin shot-stopper is urging the public to "get their walking shoes on and climb a hill" - real or imaginary - to raise much-needed funds for the charity.

The 'Gala Up the Hill for Jack & Jill' campaign is running nationwide throughout September and Mr O'Leary said any kind of hill will do.

"We don't really mind what you do, it's all a bit of fun, you can design your own challenge.

"It could be a mountain of ironing, it could be that 5km run you promised yourself you would do," he said.

The fundraiser's €16 registration fee covers one hour of nursing care for a sick child.

Mr O'Leary donned the blue of Dublin once again yesterday to climb Croke Park's Hill 16 with his son Tom (3) on his shoulders.

"This is something to motivate you, it goes straight to Jack & Jill and straight into the nursing hours almost immediately, so it gives a great return," he said.

Tom, who has a rare chromosomal disorder, is supported by the foundation, and Mr O'Leary said Jack & Jill had been an "unbelievable lifeline" to his family since his son's diagnosis.

"They have a massive impact on families like us all over the country. It is only when you come into contact with them that you see what they are doing and the impact they have on the ground," he said.

The foundation, which has helped children all over Ireland since 1997, is facing a €200,000 funding shortfall this year.

Organisers are calling on the public to register for the campaign at www.jackandjill.ie or pick up a registration pack at any Gala retail store nationwide.

Irish Independent