On January 7th 2020 28-year-old Ciara McCullough started an epic task to run the Wild Atlantic Way to raise funds for the Children’s Grief Centre.
She commenced her journey in Derry and this Saturday, after running an average of 30 kilometres most days, her last run will bring her to her final destination on the Wild Atlantic Way, Kinsale.
Over the 7 week period friends, family and strangers have joined Ciara on her mammoth task, even Storm Ciara and Storm Denis didn’t deter her and while at times she found the run very tough, she persevered! You too are welcome to join her on the last few days of her run as she approaches Kinsale this weekend.
Ciara, a Ballinahinch, Co. Tipperary girl, knows grief only too well; she lost her father when she was a young child and recognises that if the Children’s Grief Centre was in existence when she was going through such a dark period, that she would have most certainly availed of its services.
“Losing my Dad at a very young age, I cannot help but think how different my life would have been if there was somewhere like the Children’s Grief Centre , a place that allows you to speak about grief,” said Ciara.
The Children’s Grief Centre was founded in 2009 by, Sister Helen Culhane, together with a support group of professionals. As a Sister of Mercy, a qualified social worker and psychotherapist, Helen worked with people who were struggling with issues relating to death, bereavement and palliative care. This included time spent at Milford Care Centre. Helen’s experience meant she developed a clear understanding of the needs of children and young people who were experiencing loss. She recognised that there was a lack of services and support for children and young people who were affected by the death of a loved one. Helen also saw there was an increasing need for support of children and young people who suffer loss due to separation or divorce of parents.
Helen’s vision was that the Centre would provide children and young people with a listening ear. Today the Centre is well established within the Mid-West region, with a team of seven trained, part-time volunteer Support Workers and one full time Support Worker with experience in a diverse range of specialist fields including education, nursing, social work and psychotherapy.
Ciara, who has had mental health struggles in the past, isn’t a serious runner by any means, but she runs regularly to keep herself on top of her physical and mental health and it’s literally been a lifesaver for her. No doubt this amazing feat of hers will also help many children and young people who will benefit from the Children’s Grief Centre.
If you would like to donate you can do so on McCullough’s challenge website https://beyonddefeat.ie/donate/. Every penny goes directly to the charity’s account.
You can follow the last few days of Ciara’s run on twitter @runwithciara and why not go along on Saturday to the Town Park between 2pm and 3pm to welcome her to Kinsale!