by Austin Hobbs
WELL-KNOWN Limerick photographer Noel Gavin has trained his camera at countless people over the years, but the focus switches to him when he tackles a gruelling 300k cycle in in Kerry and Cork this month.
Noel and 60 others have joined up for the two-day pedal for the Irish Hospice Foundation’s Nurses for Night Care programme.
The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) funds the free service for people who are terminally ill. It provides nursing care, practical support and reassurance for the person and for their families in the last days of their life. This service is provided through the Irish Cancer Society night nursing service.
The brakes were put on the annual fundraising cycle event in 2020 because of Covid, much to Noel Gavin’s disappointment.
He said, “The pandemic has meant this service is more needed than ever and lockdown has prevented normal fundraising for a service needed more than ever.
“The best thing about this event is completing the cycle, helping a great cause and meeting fellow participants who have their own stories which are inspiring. The challenges are tough but always remind me how I can end the pain by getting off the bike but our friends and family who need the Nurses for Night Care service have to continue the toughest journey to the sad end.”
Over the years, the cycle challenge has developed into the IHF’s largest annual event and has played a huge role in raising funds for the Nurses for Night Care Programme.
The co-founder of the Press 22 photography agency said, “With your help the IHF has raised an amazing €2 million, which continues to provide this critical care to families throughout Ireland.
“Rest assured that your transaction on Facebook is very secure and will go directly to The Irish Hospice Foundation. You will automatically receive an e-mail from me thanking you for your support and acknowledging the amount of your donation.”
The service is largely funded by donations from the public and has been subsidised by the HSE since 2016. In 2017, over 2,000 nights of nursing care was delivered to over 600 people across Ireland, at a cost of €646,537.