Firefighters from County Kilkenny will walk the equivalent of seven marathons across the county this Saturday, June 13 to raise funds for Pieta House, the national suicide prevention charity.
Members of fire and rescue services from Kilkenny City, Castlecomer, Freshford, Urlingford, Thomastown, Callan and Graignamanagh have given themselves the added challenge of completing the Walk For Life in their firefighting gear. Each of the stations will complete the equivalent of a marathon; totalling 183.4 miles.
The idea first came about after Pieta House’s annual ‘Darkness Into Light’ event for 2020 was cancelled as a result of Covid-19.
Kilkenny City firefighters Ryan Fulton and Paul Lanigan then raised the idea of the Walk For Life in fire gear to raise vital funds for the charity. In typical fire service fashion, all seven brigades in the county quickly got involved.
“Members of the Kilkenny Fire and Rescue Service would have taken part in the Darkness Into Light walk in previous years and intended to do so again this year,” said Kilkenny City firefighter and organiser Paul Lanigan.
“Naturally, when the event was cancelled this year we felt compelled to come up with a safe event compliant with Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing to raise as much funds and awareness for this worthwhile cause,” he says.
Kilkenny Fire and Rescue Services have taken part in many charity events and activities over the years, such as bucket collections,car washes singing outside the town hall and climbing the equivalent of Mount Everest up a ladder.
“Emergency services, locally and nationally, respond to mental health-related calls on a regular basis in Ireland and one of the toughest, from my personal experience, is when a person has died by suicide,” says Ryan.
“A lot of great work has been done locally by the likes of Taxi Watch and Teac Tom, and the Walk For Life is our way of trying to be proactive and play our part in combating the mental health crisis across the entire country,” he added.
An Everyday Hero page has been set up for members of the public who wish to donate to the cause. This can be found at https://give.everydayhero.com/ie/kilkenny-firefighters-walk-for-life-2