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St Luke's Friends take new course

For the Friends of St Luke's Hospital a new approach to fundraising, making the best possible use of new technology and social networking sites, is paying off.

Over the past few years the Dublin-based charity, which raises about €200,000 from the Flora Women's Mini Marathon alone, has used the www.mycharity.ie website to great effect.

"We've been with it for three years now and it's worked out great for us," says Fiona Campbell, the "techie" in the Friends of St Luke's office.


"Although mycharity.ie charges 3pc, we looked into it very thoroughly.

"It's a cheaper option than running donations through credit cards, where you have to pay bank charges and buy a special terminal.

"This way the money goes straight into our bank account and no one has to chase money -- people can set up their own personalised sponsorship page. The numbers using it are increasing all the time," she says.

Friends of St Luke's were one of the very first charities to see the potential of the Flora Women's Mini Marathon.

"It's still our biggest single fundraising and we would have about a thousand women taking part. They are all different ages -- from 16 to 80. Among them are patients, ex-patients, mothers, daughters, grandmothers. We always emphasise the fun element. The great thing about St Luke's is that we are not a hospice, people recover here," says Geraldine Watt, the events coordinator.

Crucial to the atmosphere at St Luke's is the peace and quiet of the setting. "We're in 18 acres of parkland here and there are preservation orders on some of our trees which date back to the old estate.

"We have two full-time gardeners, who have put chairs and seats in the woods. So you can always get away and have some quiet time," says Deirdre Hughes, appeals director.

Money raised by fundraising efforts such as the mini marathon goes on specific projects. "Last year's money went towards upgrading the diagnostic imaging suite and a replacement CT simulator, which help doctors plan a patient's treatment.

That's done now and we are now hoping to refurbish the Lodge, where patients can stay while receiving treatment. It was built in 1996 and it's looking a bit tired."

Every year a proportion of the funds raised also goes to support oncology research. Last year, more than €210,000 was raised through the mini marathon -- this year's target is €200,000.

Want to sign up? Contact Geraldine Watt on 01-4065314 or email her at geraldine.watt@slh.ie