A group of five swimmers made history on Saturday as the first relay team to swim from Lambay to Bull Island, raising €20,000 for Family Carers Ireland.
Crowds gathered at Bull Island on Saturday afternoon to cheer the relay team through their final strokes of the 24k challenge. The team of avid sea swimmers, made up of Dr Aidan Hampson, Frank Cope, Dave Cherry, Eoin Boyle, and Damien Kelly, headed off at 7.30am from Lambay Island and made it to the cliffs of Howth Head in 2.5hrs with Dr Hampson having the privilege of swimming around the Bailey Lighthouse. A heavy current hit them as they tackled Dublin Bay, but they persevered and completed the historic swim in 6 hours 45 minutes.
Dr Hampson and the team were inspired to take on the challenge by the O'Donovan family from Swords and the remarkable care they provide for Jack (19) who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, is a wheelchair user, PEG-fed and non-verbal. Dr Hampson has been Jack’s GP since his birth. “We wanted to really challenge ourselves and do something different, something that hadn’t been done before, and grab people’s imagination to raise money,” he explained.
“Every single one of us felt very privileged to be a part of this swim for a charity we want to highlight more – Family Carers Ireland. We need to realise that our while our loved ones with autism, mental health challenges, any illness, disability or disease diagnosis need support, the people who care for them need to be supported too, and that’s what this charity does every day.
“I felt it was time we shone a bright light on the staggering level of work being done the length and breadth of the country by family carers – as it is work that too often goes without any break or support. They fight battles every day behind closed doors that no one sees but I see it every day with my profession. We wanted to give back to a charity we feel needs a lot more recognition and completing this challenge gave us the perfect opportunity to do just that.”
“Today has been motivating, emotional, fun and humbling all at the same time and we thank everyone who has taken the time to donate to this great cause as well all the cheerleaders who welcomed us out of the water.”
Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy, Family Carers Ireland said: “A challenge of this magnitude is a feat of endurance and each of the swimmers demonstrated an amazing dedication and resilience by completing this historic swim. Their efforts perfectly mirror the strength and resilience of family carers.
“All of the swimmers should be very proud, not just of their achievements in the water, but for raising much needed awareness and over €20,000 for Family Carers Ireland. This will allow us as a charity to continue providing essential supports and services, counselling, help and guidance for family carers throughout the country.