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Wexford Relay for Life to be ‘restored to its former glory’ with first in-person event for two years

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From left: Karen Doyle with Craig O'Toole, 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge, Gay Murphy, Chairperson Relay For Life, Cllr Garry Laffan, Louise Hewitt, Night Nurse Irish Cancer Society, Paul Cullen and Damien Mangan, 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge attended the Relay for Life 2022 official launch in 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge on Wednesday evening.

From left: Karen Doyle with Craig O'Toole, 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge, Gay Murphy, Chairperson Relay For Life, Cllr Garry Laffan, Louise Hewitt, Night Nurse Irish Cancer Society, Paul Cullen and Damien Mangan, 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge attended the Relay for Life 2022 official launch in 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge on Wednesday evening.

At the Relay for Life 2022 official launch in 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge on Wednesday evening were Fiona Murphy, Samantha Freegrove and Jayne O'Sullivan

At the Relay for Life 2022 official launch in 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge on Wednesday evening were Fiona Murphy, Samantha Freegrove and Jayne O'Sullivan

Debbie Franks and Chris Lewis.

Debbie Franks and Chris Lewis.

At the Relay for Life 2022 official launch in 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge on Wednesday evening were Siobhan and Joanna Sutton

At the Relay for Life 2022 official launch in 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge on Wednesday evening were Siobhan and Joanna Sutton

Julie Jackson with Nicky Byrne, Pettitt's Supervalu and Gay Murphy, Chairperson Relay For Life.

Julie Jackson with Nicky Byrne, Pettitt's Supervalu and Gay Murphy, Chairperson Relay For Life.

Karen Doyle with Deirdre Finn, John Sutton and Diane Roche.

Karen Doyle with Deirdre Finn, John Sutton and Diane Roche.

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From left: Karen Doyle with Craig O'Toole, 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge, Gay Murphy, Chairperson Relay For Life, Cllr Garry Laffan, Louise Hewitt, Night Nurse Irish Cancer Society, Paul Cullen and Damien Mangan, 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge attended the Relay for Life 2022 official launch in 10 West Bistro & Cocktail Lounge on Wednesday evening.

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DECKED out in the familiar orange and purple colours, an extremely committed group of people gathered at 10 West Bistro for the official launch of Wexford Relay for Life 2022.

Having grown since 2017, not even a global pandemic could interfere with the work of the committee to raise awareness, provide supports for cancer survivors and those battling illness and raise vital funds for the Irish Cancer Society. Rather than abandon the idea, the event persisted in a virtual capacity for the past couple of years and continued its vital work in raising funds for vital services such as night nurses, volunteer drivers, counselling for those battling cancer and their families and much more.

The embodiment of the group’s commitment is Chairperson Gay Murphy. Currently in the midst of her own cancer battle, she just made it back to Wexford from St Vincent’s Hospital in time to attend and speak at the launch of this year’s event – one which she hope’s will be a massive return to form as it can finally take place in Pairc Charman once again.

"I’m so pleased that we are finally returning to an in-person event after two years,” Gay said. “We’ve had enough virtual to last a lifetime! We really hope to restore the event to its former glory.”

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However, the challenges posed by Covid are not over just yet. Gay noted that there are still those who are nervous about crowds, while costs are “soaring”. She was therefore delighted to welcome on board new sponsors Paul Cullen and Craig O’Toole of 10 West. Paul revealed he had a strong motivation to get involved.

"My own mother passed away from cancer 17 years ago,” he said. “She was very young at 47. I’m 44 myself now and it’s only with the passing of time that I’m beginning to realise just how tragic that was. The charitable spirit has always been close and my Dad has done a lot over the years, so Craig and myself are delighted to be in a position to help out. We look forward to getting involved this year and beyond and we’re delighted to be aligned with this tremendous community spirit.”

Manager of Pettitt’s SuperValu in St Aidan’s Nicky Byrne was also delighted to announce they’d be coming on board once again and sponsoring a dinner and supplies in the ‘Survivor’s Tent’ which will be erected at Páirc Charman for the event on July 9 and 10. He described the event as “the epitome” of community spirit and finished by saying, “our role in this is the easy part. It’s ye that are the heroes here and we’re delighted to support in any way we can.”

Giving focus to just how a fundraiser like Relay for Life can impact families going through a cancer battle, Night Nurse Louise Hewitt spoke of her role in helping those coming to the end of their life and who wish to be in their own homes. Having served 20 years in nursing, Louise has been working in the area of cancer care and palliative care for ten of those. She outlined that her job was simply to provide help, support and a little bit of comfort to patients and families that are going through an incredibly difficult time.

"People often say to me that my job must be so difficult,” she says. “But I genuinely love it. All I’ve ever wanted to do is mind people. We don’t always know what to say; we can’t provide a cure for the person, but we can ease the burden on them and their families and that’s exactly what we’re there to do.”

Mayor of Wexford Garry Laffan said he was “humbled” to attend the launch and had been blown away by the amount of work put into Relay for Life by the dedicated committee members. Meanwhile, Jane Byrne of Wexford Volunteer Centre pledged their support and said there would be a huge volunteer recruitment drive in the coming month. Anyone interested in getting involved is asked to contact Wexford Volunteer Centre.

Concluding the launch and what had been a busy day for her personally, Gay Murphy was feeling optimistic about the Páirc Charman event on July 9 and 10. 

"There’s nothing like the people of Wexford to pull together when needed,” she said. “We had no idea what we were doing when we started this. We looked at other events around the country and saw what we liked and what we didn't like. The most important thing for us is for everybody to feel involved and included and for nobody to feel isolated. We’ve always just focused on our teams, our survivors and our supporters and after that the money will follow.

"We went from 17 teams in 2017 to 34 in 2018 and then 50 in 2019. Covid has held us back a little bit, but I’ve no doubt we’ll get there again with the support of the people of Wexford.”


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