Supporting Local News

Daughter’s Connemarathon run raises €25,000 and counting in support of hospital units

An Irish dancing teacher who ran the Connemarathon for the first time has raised €25,000 to buy equipment for the two hospital units which most helped her mum learn to walk and talk after suffering an aneurysm and stroke.

Bernie Curley was a fit and healthy 55-year-old dancing teacher and adjudicator when she suddenly fell ill one day last August in her home in Renvyle.

Luckily there happened to be an ambulance in Clifden, which arrived just ten minutes after the emergency call and paramedics were able to start treatment immediately.

Bernie was rushed to University Hospital Galway (UHG) where she received the crucial medication to halt further damage from the aneurysm and stroke and from there, she was despatched to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin for more intensive treatment.

She spent six weeks in the intensive care unit at Beaumont before being transferred to the stroke unit of UHG for two months followed by three months in the rehab unit of Merlin Park Hospital.

After hitting some key milestones in her recovery, she has just been accepted for a 12-week intensive programme at the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dún Laoghaire.

Her daughter, Ellen is also a teacher in the Curley School of Irish Dancing with classes in Clifden, Renvyle and Cashel and has a fitness studio in Clifden. She is grateful that their mum is still with them and getting better every day.

“There was never any issue at all with mum’s health. She was adjudicating the day before and in my fitness class the week before. We were just so lucky we weren’t waiting hours for the ambulance, which is not always in Clifden,” she explains.

“It’s been a long journey over the last nine months, and she’s made amazing progress, which is all down to the nurses, the physios, the occupational therapists, the speech and language therapists – they are phenomenal, they have minded us all.”

Bernie has slowly regained her independence, relearning how to walk, improve her stability as well as talk again. Therapists are currently concentrating on her weakest right side improving the strength in her right arm and hand.

“Since Christmas, step by step, she’s getting better. The therapists give us a lift every time she hits a marker and they keep pushing her. We’re so thankful she’s reached the point that she could get into the NRH because at one point it didn’t look like she’d make it there.”

The 32-year-old was so inspired by her mum’s hard work that she decided to train for the Connemarathon, which took place in glorious sunshine across the majestic Inagh Valley last Sunday.

Ellen invited people to sponsor her run to raise money for the UHG stroke unit and Merlin Rehabilitation Unit in recognition of all the care they have given her mum and to buy equipment to help future patients.

“Honestly, I thought we’d raise a few hundred euro, but it’s just blown up. We raised €10,000 in 24 hours. Definitely mum’s age has affected a lot of people. It goes to show that life is short, you don’t know what’s around the corner,” reflects Ellen.

“Our community is small but they minded all of us. The community has been phenomenal.”

When Ellen crossed the line in 3 hours 39 minutes, she pushed her mum ahead of her in a wheelchair.

“It was always the plan for her to walk over but honestly I couldn’t stop my legs so we just went with the wheelchair. Next year she’ll walk it with us,” she gushed.

The physical therapist and Pilates instructor was the fifth woman to cross the line and 58th overall. Some of her clients at the Ellen Curley Fitness Studio in Clifden also took part, smashing their goals.

She is keeping the GoFundMe page open until Friday. Search Donate to Bernie’s Journey to contribute.

Pictured: Post-run…Ellen Curley with her mum and dad, Bernie and Martin Curley, and her aunt Martina Curley.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up