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Walking in memory of Peter – and to reciprocate Galway Hospice’s kindness

Most people taking part in this weekend’s Galway Hospice Memorial Walk will be doing it in memory of a loved one, each of them precious – and many of them probably availed of the services of the Galway Hospice in some way, either as an in-patient or some aspect of their home care.

Peter Mernagh was one of those who did – and he will be fondly remembered this Sunday, as his family and friends take part in the walk from the Claddagh to the Prom and back.

Originally from St Joseph’s Avenue, Henry Street and later Slieveroe, Athenry, Peter never said ‘why me’ during his illness. Instead he said ‘why not me’.

His natural positivity towards his cancer and subsequent treatment was no doubt strengthened by his chosen profession as a nurse.

His wide smile and ‘can do’ attitude made him one of the most popular nurses in University Hospital Galway’s Emergency Department and later in the Medical Assessment Unit.

This popularity extended to co-workers, patients and their families thanks to his good humour, emphathic nature and his fantastic ability to communicate with people.

On a fateful day in March 2018, Peter found himself in his workplace as a patient with suspected kidney stones.

However, an X-ray and CT Scan showed a 13cm tumour. Peter was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma.

The tables were turned when Peter found himself in the care of his colleagues.

Despite surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, his disease continued to spread.

During a brief period of remission, he even returned to work but had to end a thirty-year career as a medic when the disease became too much to bear.

In September 2021, Peter was referred to the Galway Hospice Foundation, where his had complex pain needs were managed.

The home care nursing team continued this care when he went home, where he died last January surrounded by his wife Lorraine, his daughter Kiera and family.

His former soccer club, West United described him as ‘majestic’ both on and off the pitch. He equally excelled as a Gaelic football player and captained his county at under-age level.

Peter was one of a kind, a character who was a force of life. He sought to bring joy to others and was happiest making people laugh.

He lit up every room he went into.

When he moved out to Athenry/Craughwell he brought his kindness and warm personality to his new community.

“Kiera and I have found the perfect opportunity to honour Peter by taking part in the Memorial Walk to raise much needed funds for the Hospice,” said Lorraine.

“We availed of the night nurse service, and we found it a Godsend. I know it’s also an expensive one to run and that sadly there’s a huge demand for it.

“Peter would have loved the idea and it’s our way of giving back. It would mean so much to us if people would donate in to the Hospice in honour of Peter and everyone whose lives are affected by cancer,” she added.

Donations can be made through iDonate HERE


For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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