Jonathan White (OC1986) writes to tell us how he joined two other Old Clongownians, Brendan Cuddihy (OC 1975 – second from right above) and Eugene Murray (OC1968) to help the cause of the Wicklow Hospice Foundation…
“During the late Summer of 2009, while driving between meetings with the car radio on, I tuned in to an interview on the Pat Kenny show. Pat’s guest was Brendan Cuddihy, a G.P. practising in Greystones, and Brendan was filling Pat in about the Wicklow Hospice Foundation (WHF) and what it hoped to achieve. What was immediately clear from the interview was Brendan’s passion, enthusiasm and determination that the people of Wicklow, who need a Hospice, should and would get one if he and the WHF had anything to do with it. Listening to Brendan, and even though I had never met him up to that point, I was sold.
The following day I wrote to him and asked him if there was anything I could do to help. The requisite meeting over a coffee followed and before I knew it I was attending my first WHF Committee meeting.
The plan and aims were simple and clear;-
- To fundraise and lobby for a specialist, stand-alone Hospice in Wicklow for the people of Wicklow.
- To reach a fundraising target of at least €3m to that end.
- To increase the number of Palliative Care Nurses in the County with a view to improving and promoting Palliative Care Services in the County.
At that first Committee meeting I was introduced to another Committee member, Eugene Murray. A fellow Limerick native, Eugene was the then (now retired) CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation. His experience in dealing with the HSE, vital partners in any viable Hospice in this country, was extensive.
It is scarcely believable that more than four years has passed since I attended that first WHF Committee meeting. It is a credit to Brendan, Eugene and the rest of the Committee and volunteers that since then the Foundation has:
- Secured a beautiful, ideal, 3.6 acre site generously donated by the Columban Sisters at Magheramore, near Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow.
- Almost reached the €3m fundraising target from funds raised or pledged,
- Appointed an Architect and entered into discussions with possible Operators for the Hospice when built.
The WHF got a significant boost last January when Wicklow resident and WHF Patron Daniel Day-Lewis very kindly donated the entire proceeds of the Irish premiere of his Oscar winning film ‘Lincoln’, to the Foundation.
So, amidst the all-pervading doom and gloom of the last number of years it is heartening and inspiring to know that people like Brendan Cuddihy and Eugene Murray, O.C.’s both, are banging the drum for the people, issues and communities that they care about.”
For more information on the Wicklow Hospice Foundation please visit www.wicklowhospice.ie