Monday 17 June 2019

Run remembers little Tiernan

Annual 5k fundraising event will be earlier this year

John and Rosemary Levins who took part in Tiarnan’s fun run at Hunterstown GFC. Photo: Colin Bell/
John and Rosemary Levins who took part in Tiarnan’s fun run at Hunterstown GFC. Photo: Colin Bell/

Alison Comyn

The seventh annual family fun run in memory of little Tiarnan Levins will be held at the slightly earlier date of Sunday August 5th this year, to facilitate work at the Hunterstown pitch which begins in September.

Tiarnan passed away aged just eight in 2012, having spent two weeks on the fifth floor of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

The local community has kept his memory alive since the first event in September 2012 and have raised almost €100,000 to date for Ardee Hospice Homecare, beds for the Lourdes Hospital, and various other local charities.

"We started it the first year to raise €2,400 for a specialist electric profile bed for the Lourdes Hospital and after that people kept asking are we doing it again so we decided to do it a second year. Then, it just went on and on from there." Says Rosemary Levins, Tiernan's mum.

"It still amazes me how many people keep coming back to support the event, and it is always a very emotional sight to see them all heading up Hunterstown Hill as the race starts."

Over €13,000 was raised after the first race in 2012, which meant after the bed was purchased, €7,000 was donated to Ardee Hospice Homecare and another €500 donated to the play therapists area in the hospital.

Tiernan's illness first came to light when he was just 20-months-old, when he began to suffer epileptic seizures. By the age of five, Tiarnan's health began to deteriorate more rapidly. By the end, he had lost the ability to walk and talk. "He was a very happy, very pleasant little boy who confronted everything head on," she said.

He was always the same, a real fighter, he fought to the bitter end and he shocked all the doctors with what he achieved. No matter what was thrown at him he'd get back up and fight until he couldn't anymore."

The bed, which parents John and Rosemary had to rent off the HSE while he was in hospital, is a specialist electric profile bed and none were available at the time of Tiarnan's stay. The beds have electronic control to allow a patient to raise their head or legs to make themselves more comfortable.

"In the past few years, we thought that four profile beds was enough, so we donate most of the money to Ardee Hospice, as they looked after Tiernan so well in his last weeks, and they do amazing work in the community," adds Rosemary, who is married to John.

"We also donated to the Louth branch of Cerebral Palsy last year, and if we get a good turnout, we hope to be able to give some again this year."

Registration for this year's event opens from 11am, and the run gets underway at 12pm.

As always it will begin at Hunterstown Rovers' Pairc Baile Fiach and make its way to Blakestown Cross, Oberstown Cross, Ballapousta and then back to the pitch via Anaglog.

"We always like to take the run past Ballapousta cemetary, where Tiarnan is buried," says Rosemary. "We can never thank the local community and businesses enough for their continued support."

Drogheda Independent