Dan Dooner follows up on fundraising Ballintubber sisters ahead of their Dublin Marathon attempt in aid of ‘Jacinta’s Smile’ this Sunday…
Katie-Anne, Aishleen and Charlotte O’Toole featured in the Roscommon People a few weeks ago when they announced their intention to run the Dublin Marathon in memory of their sister, Jacinta, who passed away earlier this year due to a brain aneurysm.
The caring sisters set up a charity called ‘Jacinta’s Smile, sunshine for siblings of loss’, which aims to help children affected by the loss of a sibling. Ahead of the marathon, I spoke with Katie-Anne O’Toole, who clearly hadn’t caught the running bug!
“We genuinely didn’t realise what we were getting ourselves into! (Laughs). Twice I’ve done 30 kilometres and at the end of it I thought: ‘I didn’t get a medal for that!’ Everyone thinks it’s great but we think we’re feckin’ eejits,” she joked.
Katie-Anne was in fine form and delighted with the fundraising effort and the response from supporters and the general public.
“The fundraising is going really well and we’re so thankful. I’ve sent out sponsorship cards all over the country and €1,795 was also raised at the launch in Bank of Ireland, Castlerea as part of their Community Smiles Initiative. We also had two great prizes to raffle off from Tully’s and Hester’s Golden Eagle.”
The girls have been putting in the work and training four or five nights a week, and while Katie-Anne described it as physically and emotionally “draining”, it has also been rewarding.
She said: “It’s tough going, we’re not sporty really, Jacinta would have been the sporty one! It’s lovely though, when people see me out running in Ballintubber they beep in encouragement!”
Katie-Anne, Charlotte and Aishleen will be counting on that encouragement to drive them on this Sunday. Should they complete their mission, Jacinta will most certainly be smiling on them at the finish line.