Saturday 24 August 2019

'Never Give Up' raises €17,000

Inch runner Chris came back fighting after a battle with cancer and he always remembered his motto

Race organiser Chris Proby
Race organiser Chris Proby
Martha Keogh
1st 5k home, Mick Coyle
First ladies home, Josephine Kileen, 2nd; Sinead Tighe, 1st and Maire Diggin, 3rd

Cathy Lee

The Never Give Up 5 and 10 kilometre charity race took place for the very first time in the village of Inch, Gorey and saw nearly 500 people gather to take part, with an estimated €17,000-plus raised for the Irish Cancer Society.

The race had a very special meaning for organiser and long term runner Chris Proby, who is from the village, as he recently marked two years cancer free, having been first diagnosed with the illness in 2015.

'I'm just overwhelmed with the turn out and the level of support. To see that many people in my small home village of Inch, just watching them all come up to the start line was incredible. That image in my mind, I will never forget,' said Chris.

Chris began to plan the race, based on his motto 'never give up,' when he was in hospital receiving treatment, about nine months ago.

On the day, he had the support of his family, parents Allen and Gloria, brothers David and Jonathan and his sister Jenny, his girlfriend Niamh as well as a team of volunteers.

'The local community and the sports clubs have been absolutely brilliant. It was something special to bring people together, not just those who have been affected by cancer but any mental or physical challenge, to support each other and have fun while doing so,' he said.

Chris said that after working hard on putting the race plans together, that although he felt personal closure himself, he would consider planning an event again for next year.

'We had runners from different parts of the country but I wanted to make it a real local community type of event in Wexford, the place I'm so proud of. For those who shared their journey, it makes you see that no matter how hard things can be, you can always come out the other side,' he said.

Chris was first diagnosed with an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer in 2015, after a tumour was found in his leg following a football injury.

'I underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and after a fierce battle I got the all clear in 2016, but just nine months later I relapsed.

'After more chemotherapy, radiation therapy and a bone marrow transplant from my brother Jonathan, I finally got the all clear again in 2017. My specialist explained that if I reached a point of the two year anniversary of my post-transplant all clear, I would have a 95% chance of long term survival, and just recently on June 14, I celebrated that very special anniversary'.

'Running was a huge part of what kept me going through everything, I used it to cope and I would dream of being back outside running again. It was a huge factor in helping to motivate me through such a difficult time. I grew up running in Inch, I love running on the hills there in the amazing scenery,' he said.

'I want to thank my amazing family, wonderful friends and relations and everyone who kept my going throughout my illness, I couldn't have done it without them. My girlfriend Niamh, she has stuck by me since the very he very start and she definitely gave me something to fight for'.

Although Chris, who now lives in Dublin, is back running and planning a marathon for 2020, just taking part in this race was the most important thing for him and he even designed the medals, that were given to all participants, in a very special way.

'I wanted to create something different and with the Wexford all Ireland hurling semi-final fever, my medals were themed with the Wexford colours, and it couldn't have been more fitting,' he said.

Gorey Guardian