Louth’s McNally family to keep Daragh’s memory alive

Dundalk family are already half-way to their €10,000 fundraising target for the Maria Goretti Foundation

The late Daragh McNally, who died aged eleven in November 2019 and used to love going to the Maria Goretti respite centre in Lordship

Margaret RoddyThe Argus

The family of Dundalk schoolboy Daragh McNally who died in November 2019 are once again walking 200kms in May to raise funds for the Maria Goretti Foundation.

Daragh, who lived with autism, loved going to the Maria Goretti children’s respite centre in Lordship, calling it his “fun house”, says his mum Colleen.

His family were devastated when he died aged just eleven, a short time after being diagnosed with an aggressive lymphoma.

"Just an hour before he died I whispered to him that I would never let his memory be forgotten and that I would always continue to fundraise for children with autism,” she says.

This is the third time that Colleen, her husband Paul, their two eldest children Nathan and Naoise, and Colleen’s parents Kevin and Nora Mora have walked to raise funds for the Maria Goretti Foundation.

The McNally family of Paul, Nathan, Colleen and Naoise are walking in memory of their son and brother Daragh to raise funds for the Maria Goretti Foundation

"It is such a great service for families who have children with autism. The love and support they get there is amazing,” says Colleen, who has always been an advocate for such families.

"They have opened up a day time respite service and are always adding new facilities. Families in Dundalk and surrounding areas are blessed to have it.”

She says that the family know that whatever funds they raise will be put to good use.

"They always let us know what the money had gone towards, whether it’s a piece of sensory equipment or something in the sensory garden.”

Colleen and Paul and her parents are aiming to walk 200km during the month of May while Nathan and Naoise are walking 100km.

Sometimes Colleen takes Lenny, Daragh’s much loved support dog with her on their walks.

"He’ll be ten in August and is slowing down but cars still slow down to look at him.

Colleen says that the grief caused by Daragh’s untimely death is still there but walking helps as does raising funds for a charity close to their hearts.

"We are heartbroken forever. Losing a child is the worst thing in the world.”

“We are hoping to raise as much money as we can and we have set up a GoFundMe page. So far the weather has been on our side but we don’t mind walking in the rain if we have to.”

So far they have raised over €5,000 of their €10,000 target.

Anyone who would like to donate, can do so by visiting the “Our Angel Daragh’s Funhouse. Maria Goretti” GoFundMe page online.