Arlene Guilfoyle Beatty and her daughter, Emma, pictured with family, friends and supporters on the final leg of their 100 Miles in March fundraiser for the Irish Hospice Foundation on March 31 at Killeigh GAA Pitch.

“We did it” - Killeigh hospice fundraiser passes €20,000 mark

A Killeigh woman has described herself as “bursting with love and gratitude” after a fundraiser she set up to honour the memory of her beloved husband surpassed the €20,000 mark this week.

Arlene Guilfoyle Beatty was joined by her 19-year old daughter, Emma, for a fundraising initiative on behalf of the Irish Hospice Foundation which challenged them to walk 100 miles in March. Not only did the intrepid duo walk 200 miles between them, but they also surpassed their initial fundraising target of €500 by a whopping €19,500!

While the fundraising drive does not officially come to a close until later today (Friday) Arlene said this week that the magic number of €20,000 has “already been surpassed” and admitted that both herself and her daughter are “completely overwhelmed and humbled” at the generosity of each and every person who made a donation.

Following the untimely passing of her beloved husband, Donal, in March 2022, Arlene Guilfoyle Beatty says she had always intended to organise a fundraiser to “give something back” to those who had given so much to her family during her husband's illness, but admits that she “wasn't really in the headspace” to do it before now. Donal Beatty, who was the well-known owner of Beatty's Boarding Kennels on Fenter Lane in Killeigh, was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of lymphoma in August 2021 and passed away just seven months later. The provision of palliative care nurses who were funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation enabled the father of three to be cared for in the final weeks of his life at his home and surrounded by his family.

Arlene and Emma felt it fitting to raise funds for the Irish Hospice Foundation when they saw an ad for the '100 Miles in March' walking challenge, but admit that they could never have envisaged raising over €20,000.

In an update on her Facebook fundraising page this week, Arlene said “And we did it!!! Well 'ye' did it...all of you that donated have got us to €20,000. My nerves are shot here and my heart is pounding but it's also bursting with love and gratitude towards each and everyone of you that has got us here Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Poignantly, as Arlene and Emma were in the final week of their walking challenge, they marked the second anniversary of Donal's passing on March 27 by completing a forest walk at the 'Beyond the Trees' facility in Avondale National Park in Wicklow.

The final leg of their 100 mile walk was completed at the GAA Pitch in Killeigh on March 31 where they were joined by a huge crowd of family, friends and supporters for a very emotional morning.

Arlene said that while herself, Emma and sons Ronan and Seán “love and miss our lovely Donal beyond words” she added that their broken hearts are “a little bit mended” by the response to their fundraiser and by the huge outpouring of love, support and generosity shown to them during the fundraiser, and over the past two difficult years.

The CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation, Paula O'Reilly sent a card to Arlene Guilfoyle Beatty and Emma thanking them, along with their family and friends, for their massive fundraising efforts which she said would “make a real difference for people facing end of life and bereavement everywhere. “ She added that the fundraiser was “a “beautiful way to remember your beloved Donal.”