Tuesday 17 September 2019

TV host Jenny Buckley takes on mini marathon in memory of her tragic god-daughter Rosabel

Jenny Buckley will hit the streets of Dublin on Sunday for the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon.

However, joining 30,000 other lycra-clad women in the 10k event will have a special resonance for the TV presenter.

She is raising funds for Rosabel's Rooms, a charity set up in memory of her 16-month-old god-daughter, Rosabel, who died in 2017.

Rosabel - who was the daughter of her sister-in-law, psychologist Suzanne Monroe, and her husband, Gary - died unexpectedly in her cot in her Galway home.

The Monroes set up Rosabel's Rooms, determined that their daughter's memory would live on, and were inspired to offer support to families who have been affected by a similar tragedy.


Jenny Buckley at the annual ISPCC Brown Thomas Fashion Show and Luncheon at the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge. Picture: Anthony Woods
Jenny Buckley at the annual ISPCC Brown Thomas Fashion Show and Luncheon at the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge. Picture: Anthony Woods

Working with the Irish Hospice Foundation, the couple have already raised €250,000.

They have established a dedicated child-focused bereavement room at University Hospital Galway (UHG), and want one opened in every hospital in Ireland.

Jenny, who is married to Suzanne's brother, Garrett McClean, said the whole family was prompted into action by the lack of support for bereaved parents.

"We got the call about Rosabel in the middle of the night," said Jenny. "We immediately went to the hospital in Galway where she passed away.

"The doctors and nurses were just incredible, but Suzanne and Gary felt there was no comfortable, safe space where they could be with their child.

"I remember going down to the room they used and thinking it felt very cold.

"Suzanne and Gary really want to create a family-friendly bereavement space for families who have suffered the worst loss imaginable - the loss of a child."

Jenny said the charity will also offer financial support toward families who have suffered a child bereavement through its Room To Heal fund. It will offer therapeutic support to those who need it.

She said that as a family Suzanne and Gary were learning to deal with the loss of their daughter, but it was something that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

"Suzanne is still deep in grief, but she has to keep going for her six-year-old son, Ruben.

"She's so inspirational and is such a force of nature. She's the most incredible person - she has just driven this charity from the start.

"She said she feels like she's still mothering Rosabel by doing this."

Late last year, Suzanne learned that she was pregnant .

Jenny said it was "wonderful news" for Suzanne and Gary, coming as it did after all they have endured, and Ruben is "very excited" about the new addition.

Jenny described Rosabel as a "wonderful little girl" who bore a striking resemblance to her very own daughter, Bo.

"She had these cute little brown curls at the back of her head. She had this great magic about her. She would always be smiling. She just had this beautiful energy about her," she said.

Jenny said that the little girl's memory would be with her "every step of the way" this Sunday.

Learn more about Jenny's fundraising effort here

Pick up the Herald on Monday for the time of every finisher, and Tuesday for our souvenir photo magazine.

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