Colin gathers families to 'Run For A Life' with RTE star Ray D'Arcy
An eleven year old girl, Keela Smith, celebrated the 10th anniversary weekend of her life saving heart transplant by joining Ray D'Arcy and close to 500 hundred others who donned their running shoes to take part in the Irish Kidney Association's family fun run, Run for a Life, which was organised by a Balbriggan man.
Keela from Blackrock, Cork was accompanied by her mother Orla as they joined RTE's Ray D'Arcy at the start line to count down the final seconds to the run's 2pm start time seeing off participants of all ages and levels of fitness come out in support of the event.
Ray D'Arcy, the ambassador for organ donor awareness 2019, is the first national ambassador to have run in the event which is now in its eleventh year. Ray said: 'It's great to be part of a life affirming event like this.
'It fits perfectly with the many stories that I've heard about organ donation and the life changing affect they've had on the recipients and their families.
'We need to get people talking with their loved ones about organ donation... if they don't know how you feel it's impossible for them to make an informed decision when the unspeakable happens.'
Run for a Life Race Organiser, Colin White from Balbriggan, explained: 'Our annual Run for a Life is a great day out for all of the family.
'It is fantastic that the weather was favorable throughout this year's event and that nearly 500 people including transplant recipients and their families and friends from all over the country turned up to support it.
'It's also encouraging to see several Athletics Clubs including Tallaght AC, Dunboyne AC, Newbridge, Balbriggan, Aughrim, Ferbane, Lucan Harriers, Raheny Shamrocks and many other running clubs and local companies represented by the likes of the large contingent of staff from Klas Telecom.'
He added: 'We are also grateful to all our volunteers including members of South Dublin County Council Volunteers Corps. The Irish Kidney Association sees this charity fundraiser as a positive way to promote organ donor awareness. The loyal support for this event is wonderful with many making it a feature on their annual calendar.'
A regular supporter of the annual event, Prof. Jim Egan, a lung physician at the Mater Hospital and the Director of Organ Donation Transplant Ireland (ODTI) once again showed up and ran the 5km distance.
Team Kerr, a family from Co. Down, which includes transplant recipient Aaron Kerr (21) who has complex needs and is a full-time wheelchair user, his kidney donor father David and mother Sandra took part in Run for a Life. The Kerr family has run 36 marathons together all over the UK and Ireland whilst promoting inclusion and disability awareness.
Some of the other children taking part in Run for a Life were 5 years old Sam Kinahan from Baldoyle, Dublin who has been scheduled to undergo a living donor kidney transplant with his donor father Ivan early next month.