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James’s Covid-19 ward nurses taking on another big challenge this August

As the nurses on one of St James’s Hospital’s dedicated Covid-19 ward dealt with the seemingly endless surge of cases earlier this year, they had a date in mind that they could turn to for solace to help see them through the tough times.

“In February one of the nurses who came in to help us told us she had signed up for the Moylagh JFK 50 Mile Challenge, and mentioned that it might be a really good thing for us to do together as a teambuilding exercise. Everyone at the time just wanted something to focus on because it was so hard on the ward, so we all signed up,” explains nurse Orla McGill ahead of her debut challenge along with 10 other colleagues from the hospital’s Private 3 Ward on August 7th.

Given all the team have been through during those difficult days they were never likely to be fazed by the prospect of taking on the scenic 50 mile route that sweeps through the countryside of Westmeath, Meath and Cavan, taking in such landmarks as the monolithic Loughcrew Cairns and Moylagh Castle.

“We’re normally all on an oncology surgical ward so we deal with all types of cancers and know the great work that the Irish Cancer Society does in the area, so when the girls found out what it was for they all really wanted to do it,” Orla says.

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On the days off, psychologically it was good to keep the girls walking and to have something to aim towards.

“After what we went through in January, we realise it’s tough but we can definitely do it!”

The group has regularly been meeting up for dedicated training sessions to prepare them for the challenge, and while there are some fitness fanatics to help drive them on others are content to attempt to walk the distance with further colleagues helping fundraise as part of a true team effort.

Personal reason

“I’ve done a half-marathon myself and was due to do the Dublin City Marathon the last couple of years before it was cancelled. One of the girls has done 11 marathons, we’ve another runner with marathon experience too and the walking aspect also helped to draw a whole team together.”

For Orla and other team members there is also another more personal reason for why they want to give back through the annual event, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

“A few of us have lost very close family members to cancer so we know and have witnessed first-hand the amazing work of the Irish Cancer Society, and also we know the amazing work they do for the patients we care for when we send them back to the community.”

Join Orla & the James's nurses in signing up for the Moylagh JFK 50 Mile Challenge!

This year's event takes place on 7 August and you can join in the action or take part in the virtual Moylagh course in support of cancer services. Email info@50milechallenge.com or click on the link below to find out more information and sign up


Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line

If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.

Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm

Support Line nurse

For more information

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1800 200 700

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