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‘He was the most amazing grandfather; he and my little boy were the best of friends’

When John Fitzgerald passed away from Covid, his family set about raising €27,000 for University Hospital Limerick

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John Fitzgerald's extended family walked 15,000km to honour his legacy and raise funds for the hospital where he was cared for before passing away

John Fitzgerald's extended family walked 15,000km to honour his legacy and raise funds for the hospital where he was cared for before passing away

John Fitzgerald's extended family walked 15,000km to honour his legacy and raise funds for the hospital where he was cared for before passing away

IT IS said of John Fitzgerald that he “couldn’t sit down for five minutes”. Fittingly, his family chose to honour his legacy through a journey of more than 15,000km on foot.

Mr Fitzgerald (67) passed away in the intensive care unit of University Hospital Limerick after the hard-working staff could do no more. Such was their compassion and kindness of care, Mr Fitzgerald's family set about raising €27,000.

When he passed away, his son Mark was stuck in Perth due to travel restrictions.

Mr Fitzgerald’s daughter, Kelly, said: “As bad as it was for us, it was so much worse for Mark, so we decided to do something to remember Dad while also raising money for the amazing staff in the ICU. I don’t know how they do what they do every day.”

The extended family, scattered across the globe, decided to collectively walk the distance between the family home in Mungret, Co Limerick, to Mark Fitzgerald’s home in Perth, Australia.

‘Journey For John’ was born, and the GoFundMe page attracted huge support from the local community.

John Fitzgerald began his career with the Limerick Leader newspaper as a page binder before he moved to Cussen’s Cranes as a crane driver.

He was a lover of GAA, beginning his club career with Mungret St Paul’s before coaching teams in nearby Crecora. He was a lifelong learner and “endlessly curious” about the world and those around him.

“One year he decided he wanted to teach himself the guitar at Christmas. Another year he started learning German. That’s just the way he was. He could turn his hand to anything, said Kelly.

“He was the most amazing grandfather; he and my little boy were the best of friends. When my son was born, it just gave him a new lease of life. He was always the life and soul of a party.”

John is survived by wife Eileen, children Simon, Mark and Kelly, grandchildren, extended family and a large circle of friends.

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