Former Ireland, Lions and Ulster rugby legend Rory Best arrived into Galway weary but to a special City of the Tribes welcome last evening as he completed the penultimate leg of a 330km endurance challenge.
Best made this epic journey to raise funds for a therapeutic short break centre in Cong for children diagnosed with cancer and their families
Best arrived into Eyre Square shortly after 5pm but still smiling despite having stepped out 300km – in excess of 320,000 steps – over the last nine days to raise funds for the special centre.
The walk, which started last Tuesday at the Aviva Stadium, has taken one of Ireland’s most successful sporting leaders through counties Dublin, Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Limerick, Clare and now Galway.
Speaking as he arrived in Eyre Square last evening, Rory said, “I have great friends here in Galway over the years. It was always a tough place to go, not least in winter, but as I walked towards the Sportsground on the way in, I knew the welcome would be altogether different. We’ve been bowled over by the support for the walk.
“It’s been an amazing journey and my motivation to do it was simply down to getting to as many places as possible, walking past as many doors as possible to raise awareness of this incredible Daisy Lodge initiative.”
“I’ve met so many incredible people along the way, including some incredibly inspirational young people with their own cancer stories and you are humbled in their company.”
“When you hit a hill along the way and are tired, all you need to do is think of them, their smiles, their courage and it just drives you on.”
Along the way Rory, who is an ambassador for Cancer Fund for Children charity that is developing the Cong facility, has been joined by families with children diagnosed with cancer as well as their friends and relatives.
He’s also been accompanied along the route by sports personalities, including former Irish colleagues and Gaelic football and hurling stars.
At the finish line it was the turn of Galway’s Shane Walsh – a brand ambassador of Arachas, sponsors of ‘Rory’s Miles 2 Mayo’ challenge – as he joined Best on the final yards into Eyre Square.
Best added, “I’ve been looking forward to coming to Galway for many reasons, including that the finish line is in sight but, principally, because I know the support that Galway will give to this cause.”
“It’s only up the road in Cong and Galway will most definitely get behind this so spread the word and please donate.”
Every week across Ireland, 10 children and young people (aged 0-24) are diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer Fund for Children understands the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and its treatment can have on the whole family, and that beyond the essential medical care, many families need social and emotional support.
Funds raised through the Rory’s Miles 2 Mayo campaign will go towards the building of Daisy Lodge in Cong, Co. Mayo, a therapeutic short break centre for children impacted by cancer and their families.
Barry Moran, Regional Director for the West Region at Arachas, sponsors of the walk, said, “We’re delighted to welcome Rory here to Galway this evening and delighted that he was accompanied into the city by our other ambassador, Galway’s own Shane Walsh.”
“Rory is an amazing person and what he’s taken on here with this walk is truly inspirational,” Barry added.
“We place a big emphasis in Arachas on community Rory with this walk has brought together an amazing community of supporters and we really look forward to the day when the first guests of Daisy Lodge arrive and Rory and his incredible commitment will be very much foremost in our thoughts then.”
Find out more about Cancer Fund for Children by visiting www.cancerfundforchildren.com.
You can also get behind Rory’s challenge and help him go the distance this May by visiting www.rorysmiles2mayo.com.