The organising committee behind the Belturbet Cancer Care weekend. From left: Sheila Reilly, Caitlin McMahon, Kim McCandless, Caroline Moore, Eileen McCandless, Robert Evans, Mags McGovern, Sinead McGettigan, Sinead McDonald, Nathalie McCaul, Francine O’Reilly, Shauna McMahon, Claire Shannon and Emily Rowan. See page 62 for more photos.

€10k raised for cancer care

A community-driven weekend, comprising three days of events and with just 10 days of planning, managed to raise in excess of €10,000 to support the continuing good works of the Irish Cancer Society and Cavan Oncology Unit.

The inaugural Belturbet Cancer Care Weekend took place last weekend, March 22-24, coinciding with national Daffodil Day on Friday, March 22.

The fundraising was achieved through cakes sales, a pub quiz, a sponsored swim at Annagh Lake, a community walk with entertainment afterwards, and concluded with a Monster Auction and Raffle at The Railway Bar on Sunday evening, March 24.

The cancer care weekend is the brainchild of Eileen McCandless, “a blow in” by her own admission, but who with her husband previously hosted similar type events when they lived in Howth, Co Dublin. Together with husband Kim, over a period of 10 years, the pair raised more than €100,000 for the Irish Cancer Society and St Francis' Hospice.

Now in Cavan and wearing a large daffodil hat, Eileen says she has been overwhelmed by the support of the people from Belturbet and its environs ever since she first put the proposal on the table.

She had hoped to hold the event several years ago but the pandemic put paid to that. Even still, when the idea cropped up once again about a fortnight ago, which is when the first meeting of organisers took place, Eileen tells the Celt that folks from her newly adopted home “really came through. In spades!”

“I've never seen such enthusiasm, such positivity. It's remarkable really.”

She pays particular tribute to Fiona McMahon from The Railway Bar who she says “really took the cause to heart”, and to the dozen or more committee members who Eileen adds went “above and beyond” to make the cancer care weekend such a success.

“We put on a much smaller event last year, organised maybe in only a few days, and we raised €3,040 for the Irish Cancer Society. So it gave us the confidence that this could be done.”

Committee member Nathalie McCaul says the success carries with it a serious note too.

“Cancer is something I think every family in the country can relate to, or has a story. I think that's why this resonates so deeply with people, and why people are so eager to give their support. No sooner had we put word out that this was happening, people started contacting us, willing to help, willing to join the committee, or bake cakes, or do something. And then you have the generosity of all the local businesses, the donations, the sponsored prized. It's been incredible really.”