Seamus Hennessy captained Tipperary to the 2008 Munster Under-21 Hurling Champiponship title.
The second instalment of RunningforJosie, Seamus Hennessy's Antarctic Ice Marathon Diary, has just landed. And, it packs a hugely emotional punch as Seamus discusses the moments when he misses his Mam the most.
Hi there and welcome to the second instalment of the RunningforJosie column.
I would like to begin by saying a huge thank you to everybody who got in touch with me after the first article at the end of June to convey kind messages about the campaign so far and a special thanks to all of the people who have decided to fundraise or donate to the RunningforJosie campaign. But more about that later on.
I would like to start by sharing some personal reflections on what it’s like to lose someone to suicide.
In November 2012 I remember sitting in the Aula Maxima hall in NUI, Galway listening to the University President, Dr James Browne, tell a crowded room of parents about how proud and excited they should be for the future of their son or daughter now that they had a masters qualification to carry into the world with them.
All I could think of as he spoke was the word “parents” and how it didn’t apply to me. I didn’t have two parents anymore and could only wish my Mam was in the room at the time to be proud of her son and his achievement.
I have experienced a similar feeling climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand with Tipperary when winning All-Ireland medals and thinking “I wish Mam was here for just one of these days”.
To see her son actually do the thing that fellas in the pubs we owned in Cloughjordan would tell her he’s destined to do as they watched me solo the ball the length of the pub, around the pool table and back up to the top of the pub without dropping it as a five-year-old.
To have just one photo of her and I together that I could have for the rest of my life.
That’s the thing about suicide: a decision made to bring a permanent end to life robs the person themselves and their loved ones of so many memories and experiences you wish that person was around for.
As you read these words, know that they were hard and emotional to write. But that’s the important thing. They need to be written, rewritten and rewritten again to continue to encourage people not to take their life and thereby rob them and their families of the chance to make memories and experiences. Memories and experiences which are the bedrock of life.
And, that’s why RunningforJosie exists. It’s purpose is to continue to spread my message of the value I gained from talking about what I was thinking and feeling after losing Mam. And, to raise much-needed funds for Pieta House and Living Links Tipperary to help them provide the support that people need to deal with their own mental and emotional wellbeing challenges.
On the topic of raising funds for these two wonderful charities, I have been completely humbled by the support of people so far to help raise money towards the €200,000 target. Nenagh Éire Óg, Kiladangan and Kilruane MacDonagh's Camogie GAA clubs are all donating to RunningforJosie.
Áine Shanahan from Toomevara and Conor O'Sullivan from Lorrha were married earlier in July and donated their wedding favours to RunningforJosie! How kind is that!
Three friends of mine completed the Ring of Kerry Cycle a couple of weeks ago raising over €5,000 in the process for RunningforJosie.
Fantastic gestures and ones I am so grateful and appreciative of and all they are.
It is selfless generous gestures like this that, in addition to all the individual donations, have helped RunningforJosie raise over €30,000 so far and there’s plenty more people who have decided to take on fundraising challenges to support the campaign.
More details of those people will come in later articles.
But, again, I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody who is supporting the fundraising efforts. Much like I couldn’t deal with the grief of losing my Mam on my own, I can’t raise all of the money alone so I really do appreciate when others get involved to share the load and work together to realising the aims of RunningforJosie.
STAY IN TOUCH
If you would like to follow or keep in touch with the RunningforJosie campaign, you can follow the social media accounts on Facebook (RunningforJosie), Twitter (@runningforjosie) and Instagram (@runningforjosie).
If you have any thoughts, suggestions or fundraising ideas to support my reaching the target of €200,000, I would be delighted to hear from you and do please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, if you would like to donate to the campaign, that can be done using the RunningforJosie GoFundMe page on the following link. Alternatively you can use the following bank details for direct transfer - account number: 01657492, sort code: 935271, IBAN: IE77AIBK93527101657492, BIC: AIBKIE2D.
Until next time, beir bua agus beannacht, Seamus.
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