When Elizabeth, Karen and Jane O’Boyle started raising funds for a charity swim they were planning earlier this month, they set a target of €3,000, which would go to three worthy charities, Cian’s Kennels, the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and the Ollie Cox Injury Fund.
So, when they smashed that target and raised over €7,500, the local girls were understandably delighted.
In fact, a GoFundMe campaign, which is still active for anyone who would like to donate, as of Monday evening had raised€7,757 in total.
“During lockdown, our Longford swimming club training had to stop as the pool was closed,” Elizabeth told the Longford Leader.
“We started missing swimming so we decided to swim in the river shannon in Tarmonbarry. We were chatting about the annual charity swim in Lanesboro and decided we could aim to swim that distance in a few weeks. That is where our distance of 3.86km came from.
“As so many fundraisers couldn't go ahead because of Covid-19, we thought why not raise money for local charities also?”
So, as Elizabeth said, she and her sisters 'just went for it'. They created a Facebook and Instagram page, OBoyleCharitySwim and from that moment on, there was no turning back.
They selected their three charities, Cian’s Kennels, the Ollie Cox Injury Fund and the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, because they have a personal connection with them, and came up with the slogan, 3 sisters swim for 3 charities.
“So, over the six weeks of training there were moments of excitement, nervousness, doubt and so much more,” said Elizabeth.
“We want to thank Longford Triathlon Club for facilitating extra openwater sessions and our swimming club in Longford for their great support and also extra training in the pool as restrictions eased.
“As the days went by in the blink of an eye we couldn’t help but get very anxious. Then it came, Wednesday the 15th of July.”
Each of the three sisters felt “sick with nerves” and said they couldn’t help but look at the clock and count every hour and every minute until their big swim.
“The swim took place at the Tarmonbarry lock at one o’clock,” Elizabeth explained.
“The support was unbelievable! We didn’t realise the great community that surrounded us. Both Cian’s Kennels and the Ollie Cox Injury Fund were among the supporters including Ollie Cox and Cian’s family, Evelyn, Enda and Shane and their dog cooper.”
The girls swam six loops of 650m and, on each loop, received great encouragement and support from everyone until the very end.
“At the finish it was one of the best feelings ever, claps echoed in our ears for minutes,” said a delighted Elizabeth on behalf of herself and her sisters.
“It was the relief, the sense of achievement, but most of all the realisation of how much we raised to help others, thanks to all of you who got behind us.
“We couldn't be more happy to say, we didn't just double our goal of €3,000 - €1,000 for each charity. We have now raised over €7,500 for our three charities.”
Anyone who would like to donate to the cause can do so by visiting the girls’ GoFundMe page, OBoyleCharitySwim.