Soldiers on Limerick run raised €40,000 for battling babies

Sgt Eddie O'Brien, holding son Max, with Lt Jonathan Hughes, who organised the maternity hospital fundraiser.

MEMBERS of the Defence Forces who got involved in the Great Limerick Run thousands of miles apart can claim a victory after raising nearly €40,000 for sick newborn babies.

Baby Daisy was born at University Maternity Hospital Limerick weighing just 1lb, and spent 157 days in hospital in the Coombe Neonatal Unit in Dublin, while baby Max, also born in UMHL, weighed just 2lbs 7ozs.

Both have come through with flying colours despite many health challenges along the way and their dads, Lieutenant Jonathan Hughes and Sergeant Eddie O’Brien, who are based at Sarsfield Barracks, Limerick wanted to do something to raise money for the hospitals as a thank you.

The two were on a tour of duty in Lebanon and had to be flown home when Daisy and Max’s mothers, Katherine Keane and Sarah Meek, went into premature labour.

The two men organised ‘Marching for the Maternities’, which saw a battalion of soldiers from all over the country signing up to do the 21k march in uniform and carrying equipment weighing 30lbs.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

Simultaneously, members of the 119 Infantry Battalion from Sarsfield Barracks serving in Lebanon joined the fundraiser by completing their own run.

Also taking part were 14 staff from the maternity hospitals, who crossed the finish line with the warrior babies, Daisy and Max.

With the donations site closing this week, representatives of the Lebanon contingent delivered a cheque to Sarsfield Barracks for €2,700, which was raised directly by the battalion out there.

“That was in addition to the money they raised through sharing the appeal and getting sponsorship. We are now heading for a total of €40,000,” Lt Hughes told the Limerick Post.

“We were absolutely blown away by the support and good wishes that came in. We never thought that much money could be raised but we’re very grateful to everyone who contributed.”

Both little heroes are now ‘doing great,” he said. “We have so much to be grateful for to both maternities. They do amazing, dedicated work.”

The money raised will be shared equally between the Limerick and the Coombe hospitals.