5k and 10k fundraising races are commonplace nowadays, but one woman has really gone the distance for a charity which is very close to her heart.
Every year, Ann Jackson works tirelessly to raise funds for St Luke’s Hospital, where she herself received treatment in 1995 and 1999.
Taking part in walks and hosting parties, dances and other events throughout the year, Ann explains that her fundraising drive began following her treatment.
“My walks began seven years ago, but I was fundraising about three years previous.”
Now happily describing her health as ‘blooming’, Ann has continued to host several annual fundraisers, which are increasing in popularity as time goes by.
“I’m blessed in the sense that I have people behind me,” Ann states, adding her thanks to all who have supported the fundraisers.
“You know, you have really decent people. Everyone that puts two euro in the bucket is as important as I am, because we have to keep it [St Luke’s] there somehow, haven’t we?”
This October, Ann will set out on her seventh international walk. Having travelled to New Zealand, Argentina, Nepal, Kenya, Vietnam and last year, Brazil, Ann will make her way to Sri Lanka with other volunteers.
“What you do every year is, you’ve to raise €6,000 for machinery and that for St Luke’s and then St Luke’s get sponsorship for you to go,” Ann continues.
“When I finish this one, please God, I’ll have 14,000km done. That’s without the walks in Ireland.”
Aside from the walks, the annual fundraisers are always a hit, from the Christmas hampers, easter eggs and collecting in supermarkets right up to walks and barbeques.
On July 13 of this year, the sun shone down on the group as they completed a canal walk before enjoying a barbeque at McPartland’s.
“It was a great walk, just fabulous,” Ann smiles. “We had it out in McPartland’s and it was brilliant. Last year we had it in the Longford Arms. It was very good but we had a huge crowd this year.”
Dedicating her time and energy to fundraising, Ann’s efforts were recognised earlier this year when Charlie McGettigan and Paul Gurney put together a song for her birthday entitled; ‘You make the World a Better Place’. The touching tribute can be purchased from Ann, with all proceeds going to The Friends of St Luke’s Cancer Hospital, Dublin.
With the local events now complete until later in the year, Ann reveals that almost €15,000 has been raised throughout.
“That’s what makes it all, knowing you can give back what you’ve got,” Ann says.
“It is good, and when you go up to St Luke’s and you look around - I would often be up at St Luke’s at meetings or whatever - and see the people there, that’s what makes you happy. Well, that’s when I’m happiest.”