Deborah Maxwell, Manager of Lough Derg, has bravely signed up and is in training for the 2012 Virgin London Marathon.
‘Since I was a child I was always active in sports, involved in karate internationally and loving any and every sport. I always had an ambition to do a marathon before I was forty-now I wonder why I hadn’t made that 30! Unfortunately a serious ankle injury scampered that plan-a simple fall caused massive trauma to the foot on December 31st 2007-five operations later and painful physiotherapy over two years finally had me walking without pain this time last year. One thing kept me going through it all-I want to, I need to run again-and finally at the start of 2011 I was able to do a little bit of light jogging. My physio and surgeon, in their minds, were happy with this degree of success-but a marathon was just not on the cards....or so they thought!
I watched last year’s London Marathon on television, as I have done for many years and thought maybe just maybe I can give it a go…inspired by so many running with disabilities and sickness and for so many great causes.
This is my 11th year at Lough Derg and I have been privileged to help shape its future in some small way. People tend to forget that we are a charity and struggle continually in fundraising - so it seemed a great motivation to run for Lough Derg, but also for Get Kids Going! This small but worthy charity gives disabled children and young people, up to the age of 26 yrs, the wonderful opportunity of participating in sport. I was so fortunate to be fit and healthy all through my childhood, taking part in lots of sports-having such fun and keeping active.Get Kids Going provides young people with specially built sports' wheelchairs so they can do athletics, tennis, skiing, rugby, sailing, boccia, basketball, sledge hockey, table tennis, fencing, shooting, archery, powerlifting and many more sports. It inspires disabled youngsters to compete in sporting events, from start to paralympic level, by giving them 'sports grants' to help with their training, physiotherapy, travel, competition fees, design and development of sports' wheelchairs etc. It truly is feasible to think that these same kids we are helping will become world record holders and paralympic champions!’’
Cuts in funding for such youngsters of up to £50m, from government and other sources force so many to rely on friends and family for financial help. As you can imagine this causes enormous burdens on many already cash-strapped families as the cost of participating in their favourite sport is forever increasing.
Through Deborah doing this one event and with help of pilgrims, donors, businesses and friends, a child’s dreams can be turned into reality and help make them into sporting heroes! Having been on crutches for the best part of two years, this charity is close to Deborah’s heart, as is Lough Derg. She has set an ambitious target of €20,000 and is confident with pilgrim support, and her own fundraising efforts, that she can reach not just the finish line but also this target. Lough Derg’s tagline is ‘Bringing you the Gift of Hope’ and Deborah says ‘I sincerely hope that people will get behind me as I try and bring hope to the thousands of pilgrims who are invited to experience the sanctity of this special pilgrimage Island, but also to these little kids who need it more than most’.
Training has been tough, and her physio has been on call keeping everything in check-so hopefully on 22nd April she can enjoy the event and know that all the effort over the winter months has been worth it.
Deborah has been keeping a blog at www.managerontherun.blogspot.com and would welcome any words of encouragement or advice on this. She assures us she will not be taking over the mantle of her hometown’s Castlederg, famous marathon charity runner who also only started his marathon career in his early 40’s, Mr Pat Loughlin-but she says he is indeed a great source of inspiration having now ran 32 marathons and raised thousands of pounds for charity.
Donations can be sent to Lough Derg, Pettigo, Co. Donegal or dropped off locally with Deborah. Or online via websites:
(Lough Derg) http://www.loughderg.org/donations
(Get kids Going) http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DEBORAHMAXWELL
If you would like to specify donation to one or other charity, please just make a note of that. Sponsor and donation forms are also available from Deborah (email@example.com- or call 0719861518 (from NI 02868632391)
There’s also a few fundraising events planned to help the cause:
Take me Out, in Potter’s Bar, Pettigo 31st March
Boogie and BBQ-First of 2012, Town House Bar, Castlederg, 13th April…more details on website www.loughderg.org or facebook/twitter
In between all this training Deborah and her team is as busy as usual getting ready for another busy Lough Derg Season with 2012 offering more programme choices than ever before to complement the existing pilgrimage and retreats-the Lough Derg slogan for this year is ‘You Just Gotta Go’ –if you would like a copy of the 2012 season guide contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go on to the website www.loughderg.org
“Lough Derg is an experience of real humility where the material world takes a back seat.”