Dublin GAA footballer Ciarán Kilkenny, Republic of Ireland and Sheffield United player, John Egan, and Ireland rugby player, Louise Galvin, are lending their support to the virtual launch of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s annual flagship fundraising appeal, 65 Roses Day, taking place on Friday April 9.
The trio are urging people to undertake a virtual 65 Roses Team Challenge as, unfortunately, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland cannot proceed with its usual 65 Roses Day collections on Friday April 9 due to COVID-19. Members of the public are instead being encouraged to please support people with cystic fibrosis (CF) on 65 Roses Day by donating online at 65RosesDay.ie or by taking part in a 65 Roses Challenge.
Do it Your Way!
Showing what good sports they are, each of the stars has shared a snap wearing their favourite team jersey to urge members of the public to get behind the campaign. They are calling on GAA, rugby, soccer and all other teams across the country to take part in a virtual 65 Roses Team Challenge.
This can be any 65-themed challenge, e.g., a 6.5K walk/run, 65,000 steps, a 65K cycle, etc. While teams cannot train due to current restrictions, this challenge gives members the chance to get together and train virtually wearing their team colours while raising much-needed funds to help people with CF. Cheering them on from a distance with their own team effort were Eva Rose Martin, age 8, and her brother Danny, age 11, from St Margaret’s in Dublin, who got in some training for their own 65 Roses Team Challenge at home.
Full details on how to set up a 65 Roses Team Challenge, which must be in line with public health guidance, can be found at 65RosesDay.ie.
World No 1 for CF
65 Roses Day gets its name from the way children often first say the words “cystic fibrosis”. Ireland has the highest incidence of CF in the world per head of its indigenous population, with more than 1,400 people living with cystic fibrosis in Ireland, according to the latest report (2019) from the Cystic Fibrosis Registry of Ireland. Ireland also has some of the more severe forms of CF. Funds raised on 65 Roses Day go to support a range of services for people with CF including funding of hospital CF facilities and staff, research, and patient grants for supports such as counselling, exercise equipment, fertility treatment, and transplant out-of-pocket expenses.
For Dublin GAA footballer, Ciarán Kilkenny, who is doing a 6.5K run for his part, the virtual 65 Roses Team Challenge is a way to maintain team spirits:
“As your team cannot get out and train at the moment, why not take part in a 65 Roses Team Challenge? You can all take part virtually, helping you to stay fit and maintain team spirits, while raising money for a great charity!”.
For Ireland rugby player and Kerry GAA footballer, Louise Galvin, as a physiotherapist, she has seen first-hand the effects of cystic fibrosis:
“I’m wearing my county colours and am doing my own 6.5K run to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland. I am urging you to sign up for a 65 Roses Team Challenge too. It doesn’t have to be limited to running. You can get teams of people to take part virtually in a 65-themed challenge in your own team colours – whether that be GAA, soccer, rugby, basketball, walking and so on – to help raise much-needed funds. As a physiotherapist, I have seen first-hand the effect of cystic fibrosis on people who have it and their families. The money raised by Cystic Fibrosis Ireland on days such as 65 Roses Day goes a long way in supporting these people.”
John Egan, Republic of Ireland and Sheffield United soccer star is also calling on teams across Ireland to get involved in the 65 Roses Team Challenge which are being held in memory of a close family friend, Kevin Driscoll. Kevin had cystic fibrosis, and sadly passed away in October. Kevin was heavily involved with Bishopstown GAA Club who set up a 65 Roses Team Challenge, raising over €20,000 last April.
For Bernie Martin, mum to Eva Rose (age 8), who has cystic fibrosis, the last year has been an extremely anxious time:
“The last year has been really difficult for families like ours. We’re used to isolating at times and the hygiene measures are normal for us, but being able to see so little of family and friends has taken our support network away. At times, you really feel very alone and weighed down by it all. The worry for us is unending because Eva is too young to get the vaccine and family carers aren’t currently a priority group, so nothing will change for us any time soon. Children generally do better than adults with COVID, but when your child is medically vulnerable, you can’t be sure and it’s an extremely anxious time.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we’re staying as optimistic as we can. The future for people with CF gets brighter all the time. New medications are rewriting the story, slowly but surely. Whatever chapter we’re on, we’ll do what we’ve always done – work hard at Eva’s physio and fitness, keep on top of treatments and medications and enjoy every breath, every day; we know how precious they are. 65 Roses Day is very special to us. I’d love for people to really get behind it to remind people with CF that they’re not alone and that they’re doing brilliantly. If we get good support, it will raise spirits, and that boost is just as important as raising funds right now.”
You can follow Cystic Fibrosis Ireland on Facebook at @CysticFibrosisIreland, and on Twitter and Instagram @cf_ireland. Hashtag is #65RosesDay