Palliative care is the beginning of a different way of living your life

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The family of the late Kathleen Ruddy have set up a major new fundraising drive in her memory as they aim to line a 3km route with €2 coins to raise €230,000 for Donegal Hospice.

In life, Kathleen had always played an active part of Letterkenny’s musical community, staging and directing shows, including co-writing the award-winning musical adaptation of Séamus Ó’Grianna’sCaisleáin Óir, and producing shows by The Rainbow Theatre Group among others.

In November of 2015 Kathleen lost her battle to Glioblastoma Multiforme, an incurable form of brain cancer. She was 58. Through the latter stages of her illness, she received care at home from the Palliative Care Team, and later spent the last month of her life in the Donegal Hospice.

To express their overwhelming gratitude for the treatment she received, her family have set up a new fundraising initiative in her memory.

Kathleen’s Causeway of Coins aims to span the journey from her home in Crievesmith Park to the Donegal Hospice – a distance of 3 kilometres – end-to-end in €2 coins to raise €230,000 for Donegal Hospice.

In order to raise the mammoth total, her family are now calling on the public to participate by having events in their area to contribute. Almost the entire county is covered by the services in the Donegal Hospice.

“We are hoping that people will host coffee mornings, table quizzes, raffles, donate birthday money and whatever else it takes to support this drive”, says Kathleen’s daughter, Mary Lane. “All money raised will go directly to patient care, both in the care of the Hospice itself, and patients receiving care in their homes by the home care team. We are asking the public that even if they only donate once a year, please consider choosing Kathleen’s Causeway of Coins in aid of the Donegal Hospice. It is a huge target to aim for and we will really need the whole county to get behind us and support the Donegal Hospice and its unmeasurable work for people with life limiting illnesses.”

Despite her debilitating illness, Kathleen became an unofficial spokesperson for the HSE’s annual Palliative Care Week campaign when she was interviewed by Shaun Doherty on his show on Highland Radio. 

“Palliative Care, they were initially scary words for me because I thought palliative care meant the end of everything. But it is by no means the end of anything… Palliative care is the beginning of so much. It is the beginning of a different way of living your life,” Kathleen Ruddy told the radio show.

In conjunction with the fundraising drive, Kathleen’s Causeway of Coins will also work to raise awareness of Palliative Care to try to remove some of the worries and stigma that is too often associated with the services.

Isobell Doherty of Donegal Hospice said, “We are delighted that the Ruddy family and the Causeway of Coins committee are undertaking this huge task to raise money and awareness for our services. This means so much to us and we are so thankful all they have done and are doing. A big thank you from all of us at the Hospice.”

For more info on Kathleen’s Causeway of Coins click here

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