Rory Best turns sod on new Mayo cancer facility after walking from Dublin

After walking over 330km from Dublin over the past number of days, Irish rugby legend Rory Best arrived in Cong today to turn the first sod on the site of Cancer Fund for Children’s new Daisy Lodge, a therapeutic centre for children with cancer and their families.

All fund raised in his sponsored walk will help Cancer Fund for Children continue to expand its services across the island of Ireland and progress with the building of DaisyLodge.

Rory and his wife Jodie walked through counties Dublin, Kildare, Laois, Tipperary, Limerick, Clare, Galway and Mayo and were joined by some of the families that are supported by Cancer Fund for Children, some former teammates, various public figures, other sporting heroes and sponsors and supporters of the cancer charity.

He said: “There have been many highlights throughout my professional career but the last 10 days have been incredibly special.

"I have met so many inspirational children and families who are navigating a childhood cancer diagnosis and heard some heart-breaking and inspiring stories from children, parents, and health professionals.

"Their experiences helped keep me motivated along some of the more challenging parts of my journey.

"My walk may be complete but the fundraising efforts continue.

"Please give as generously as you can to support Cancer Fund for Children and help ensure no child or young person on the island of Ireland has to face cancer alone.

“Whilst the care children diagnosed with cancer receive in hospital is excellent, it is clear that they really benefit from the emotional and therapeutic support provided by Cancer Fund for Children.

"Short breaks at Daisy Lodge provide children with cancer, a space to rest, time with their families and the opportunity to build connections with others their own age who are going through the same thing.

"They get to be treated like the stars they are and that’s why I’ve gone the distance to help bring a therapeutic facility like this to Co. Mayo.

"I would like to give special thanks to The Ardonagh Group, Arachas Corporate Brokers and Kingsbridge Private Hospital for sponsoring my challenge and making thispossible.”

Fund for Children and their partner the Katie Nugent Fund, have developed a unique relationship with Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin through the Children’s Health Foundation, providing a staff member to offer informal emotional and social support to families during their child’s cancer treatment on St John’s Ward.

The charity has also recruited a community-based Cancer Support Specialist in Galway to provide informal therapeutic, emotional, and social support to children diagnosed with cancer and their families.

Three more community based roles are due to be filled in the coming months.

“Every week across Ireland, 10 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer,” said Phil Alexander, CEO, Cancer Fund for Children

“Our mission is simple, to help ensure that no child or young person has to face cancer alone.

"We cannot thank Rory and his wife Jodie for all they have done to drive awareness of this cause and raise much needed funds to build our second Daisy Lodge in Cong.

"We understand the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and its treatment can have on the whole family, and that beyond the essential medical care, many families need social and emotional support which is why we are also developing community services across the island of Ireland and building this second therapeutic short break centre.

"Each year, Cancer Fund for Children supports over 1,500 children and young people and 500 families impacted by cancer with therapeutic short breaks at Daisy Lodge in Newcastle, Co. Down, the inspiration for our second centre which will be built on the shores of Lough Corrib in Cong.

"Once Daisy Lodge Mayo is operational, we will be able to support more than double the number of families each year.”

You can still get behind Rory’s challenge by donating here.