Despite restrictions athlete Mark raises €4,500 for Freya’s family

Despite restrictions athlete Mark raises €4,500 for Freya’s family

By Maurice Garvey

A LONG distance charity run from Belfast to Dublin was derailed when the latest Covid-19 restrictions cut the venture in half overnight.

Clondalkin man Mark Conlon was taking on his latest charity challenge to help Freya Doyle (9), a young Donaghmede girl with a debilitating rare form of epilepsy.

Freya 1

Freya Doyle

Mark and around 44 other runners were taking part in the 104 mile ‘ultra marathon’ which started on Friday at 12 noon from the Europa Hotel in Belfast.

The latest Covid restrictions were announced later that day, and by 2am on Saturday morning, Mark was told by race organisers that he could not run into Drogheda.

“Everything that could go wrong, went wrong,” said Mark.

“They were taking the race trackers off us, a lot of people dropped out. When the two guys from Dublin I was running with dropped out, they had my bags and my phone battery wasn’t going to last, which I need for the GPS, so I had to pull the plug.

Mark Conlon 1

Mark Conlon

“I was within touching distance, made it 103km and if I got though Drogheda, then it was Balbriggan, Swords and home. But the family were very happy. I managed to raise over €4,500 with a bit more to come in online and through sponsorships.”

Freya has a diagnosis of Ohtahara Syndrome which means she cannot walk, talk, feed or toilet herself. She requires 24 hour care and daily medication.

Funding will go towards a bedroom and wetroom downstairs and a ceiling track hoist to safely transfer Freya from her wheelchair to shower and to bed. 

Mark said the family have a council grant for half of the money required for the renovation project, but need public help for the other half.

Nearly €20,000 of the €40,000 goal has been achieved so far on Freya’s GoFundMe page.

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