Former World 1,500m champion Eamon Coghlan has lent his support to a community effort to help a Galway man who suffered severe head injuries when he fell off a ladder at work seven years ago.
Ollie Burke, who is now 37, was carrying out electrical work when he fell – a fall that resulted in an acquired brain injury. The former GAA footballer spent sixteen months in hospital, is still severely incapacitated and requires 24 hour care.
Worse still, there was no insurance in place – so his old friends, led by Gerard Bowens, wanted to do something to help towards the cost of his care; and five years ago they organised the first Run for Ollie in his native Milltown.
This year on Saturday, June 14, hundreds of runners and walkers are expected to take part in the annual 10km – an event that Senator Eamon Coughlan took time out of his busy schedule to help launch recently.
Over 500 people including professional runners, triathlon participants and walkers took part in last year’s run. This year, Ollie’s friends are hoping to increase the numbers and are calling for competitors from across the country to sign-up and compete for this worthy cause.
“The past four years have been so successful and there has been an unbelievable atmosphere with hundreds of competitors coming to Milltown for the run. Even though we’re just a group of friends and not professional event organisers, our previous four events have shown that we run a truly well organised and professional event,” said Gerard Bowens.
“Unfortunately there was no insurance in place to fund Ollie’s care so we need to raise money to look after him. He needs 24 hour supervision and has difficulty doing ordinary tasks. He recognises his family but can’t communicate how he feels.
“Ollie is blind in one eye and has limited use of his left hand. He can walk which is great but he’s unable to leave the house unaccompanied. He has also developed serious epilepsy and is prone to regular seizures. It simply goes without saying that we, and Ollie’s family, need all the help we can get,” he added.
This year’s run will take place on Saturday, June 14, at 3.00pm. Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are welcome.
And every single penny raised from the run goes directly on funding the much needed care and on-going rehabilitation for Ollie, who lives at home with his mother and brother. Everyone that enters will be included in a draw for many spot prizes that have kindly been donated. Parking, registration, changing and showering facilities are available at Milltown Community Centre and the local GAA pitch.
Participants can register for this year’s run at a cost of €30 at www.runireland.com. Registration will also be open at the community centre, Milltown, on Friday, June 14 (6pm-9pm) or on the Saturday from11am to 2.30pm.
For more information on Ollie’s story and/or to donate to his fund please go tohttp://www.friendsofollie.com
Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones
These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.
But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.
If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.
All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.
You can email that with a photograph to us, to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.
We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.
This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances. You can contact our team for further details at email@example.com
Gardaí seek help in locating missing man
Gardaí have sought help in locating a man missing in Galway since the end of December.
34-year-old Luke Davoren was last seen in the University Road area on December 30.
He is described as having fair hair, 6ft in height and having an athletic build. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody, brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown leather boots. He also had a black back pack in his possession.
Gardaí and Luke’s family are very concerned for his welfare and have urged him to make contact.
Anyone with information, particularly any road users with dash cam footage of the Newcastle/University Road areas between 1am – 2am on December 30, is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091 538000.
‘Daredevil’ swimmers are a fatality waiting to happen
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – ‘Daredevil’ winter sea swimmers who dive or jump into the water in places like Blackrock during adverse weather are putting their own lives at risk – and possibly those of rescuers – by their actions, it was warned this week.
Water Safety Ireland have cautioned that the biggest single contributor to drownings in Ireland is what is known as ‘cold water shock’ – a condition caused by the sudden entry into a cold body of water.
There is now growing concern that a copycat trend is emerging with young people – without wet suits – diving or jumping into the sea in stormy or icy-cold weather.
Several people have been filmed on social media in the sea at Salthill during storms – with a number of them taking ‘running jumps’ off the diving tower at Blackrock.
Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Water Safety Ireland, told the Galway City Tribune that people jumping into the sea during storms showed at best a reckless disregard for their own safety and in a worst-case scenario represented ‘a fatality waiting to happen’ for the jumpers – or the persons trying to rescue them.
“Jumping into cold water puts you at risk of cold shock which can result in immediate incapacitation and doing so in storm conditions can make it difficult to get back out of the water safely and promptly before hypothermia sets in.
“Hypothermia leads to the cooling of the muscles needed in the arms and legs to stay afloat. Drownings typically happen when someone over-estimates their ability and under-estimates the risks,” said Mr Sweeney.
Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune, that the key thing for all people who enjoyed the water and the sea was to carefully plan their exercise or hobby.
“Cold water shock is a real danger at this time of year for all swimmers. Be prepared – have your cap, ear plugs, mats, woolly cap [after leaving the water] and towels all in place. Check the weather forecast and check the tides – and never, ever just jump straight into the water during the colder season.”
(Photo: Diving into the water at Blackrock during Storm Bella in December)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.