Committee members of the Neill McGarry Memorial Lough Gill North West Hospice Swim pictured this week at the launch of the 2022 event which takes place on August 13. Picture James Connolly
The Committee of the annual Lough Gill Hospice Swim and Family Fun Day have welcomed the return of the popular charity event this year, with a day full of fun and excitement planned.
This year the 10k swim, considered to be one of Ireland’s toughest outdoor charity swims, - takes place in Lough Gill, Co Sligo, on Saturday, August 13 and entries are now open.
The event will start at Parkes Castle in Co Leitrim and end at Sligo’s Doorly Park. Registration for this year’s Lough Gill Hospice 10km swim, relay, and virtual swim is open. See here: https://www.loughgillswim.com/race-information-People
The event is held in memory of 29-year-old Neill McGarry who died from cancer in October 2010. It has raised a massive €380,000 since its inception in 2011 in support of the North West Hospice. The money raised from this event helps fund vital palliative care services for families throughout the North West.
In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the committee held a virtual swim event allowing participants all over Ireland and beyond to complete their 10km and 2km swims at their own pace in open water environments. The success of the virtual swim resulted in fundraising of over €75,000 for the North West Hospice.
This year, as well as the usual Lough Gill in-person swim, the virtual format is once again an option for those who are unable to participate on the day of the main event.
Paul (Sam) McGarry, Neill’s uncle and chair of the swim, said it was vital that events such as the Hospice swim continued to receive the public’s support to help them maintain and support services that make a difference for people.
“The sense that ‘nothing great is easy’ applies not only to the swim that we organise but also to the fact that charitable events, and not just ours, rely on public support," he said.
“We are incredibly grateful for all the support we get. This year we are again urging people all over Ireland to support their local charities and the inspiring differences that they can make.”
Paul is urging as many people as possible to take part in this year’s swim on August 13. He is encouraging friends and family to motivate one another and take part in the fun relay team event. And for those who would like to support the swim from afar, he urges them to sign up for the virtual event.
The Lough Gill Hospice Swim is considered a real test of a swimmer’s abilities, mentally and physically, with the average swimmer usually taking 3.5 hours to complete the 10km course. But this year, swimmers can also sign up for the relay team event.
Organisers say whether a person experiences cancer as a ‘battle’ or a reluctant ‘journey’, one must find the guts and grit to take it on, one stroke at a time. "The 10k swim is tough, arduous, painful, and long but the difference is that the swimmer's struggle is over in a matter of hours.
“Like this demanding and challenging swim, the cancer journey is a grueling, painful, and exhausting experience that brings a host of thoughts and emotions including fear, apprehension, doubt, frustration, struggle, hope, discovery and for many gratitude, relief and recovery. Both journeys are slow and deliberate, with the companionship and support of family and friends as central to the experience”.
Participants can register here: https://www.loughgillswim.com/race-information-People can also contact the team on Facebook or Instagram @loughgillhospiceswim where updates and fundraising details can be found.
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