Poignant ‘Run for Damo’ raised over €17,000 for Joshua Community charity
A close friend of the late Cllr Damien Reilly says an event that raised thousands for charity was organised to “honour the legacy” of the Dunboyne politician.
Chris Moran says the “Run for Damo” that took place on St Stephen's Day at St Peter’s GAA Club in Dunboyne was “bitter sweet” as friends and family came together to remember the popular Fianna Fail councillor who passed away suddenly in September. Damien was also one of the founder members of this annual charity run for Pieta House, an event Chris ran with his pal every year.
This year over €17,000 was raised for the Joshua Community in Navan, a drop-in service for the homeless on Kennedy Road, a charity chosen by Damien's partner, Lisa.
“For us, we wanted to do it justice for Damien's memory and his family, it was a hugely emotional event,” said Chris.
“It was bitter sweet doing the run but it also felt right that we honour his memory,” he added
After the idea for the run was suggested, Chris took the reins and the “whole community” came on board as he explains:
“Aoife Thompson came up with the idea for the run. Aoife is heavily involved in a lot of Meath camogie and GAA teams down through the years and Damien set up the run for Pieta House with Aoife back in the day.
“Damien was integral to the success of that run down though the years.
“After his sudden passing Aoife reached out to me and said I’d like us to do the run for Damo this year.”
A local charity was chosen to represent Damien's dedication to the people of Meath according to pal Chris who said: “Lisa’s friend works directly with the Joshua Community and we thought if we are going to do a fundraiser we will do it for a local charity where we could make a direct impact.
“Damien was involved in all aspects of political life, he dedicated his life to helping people who couldn't help themselves so it kind of all made sense.
“Damien's wider group of friends were an incredible support network for me as we organised the run.
“It was truly incredible but didn't really surprise me in the sense because it was the legacy that he left behind. There are not many 40-year-olds who will have a legacy that will last a life time. He was that rising political star in Meath and to be taken so soon was just devastating.”
Chris said it was an “absolute honour” to have the Dunboyne councillor as a friend throughout his life. He added:
“I grew up two doors down from Damien so we grew up together, we went to primary school and secondary school together. When he travelled to Australia I met him over there.
“He was the friend of a life time and one of the most incredible people that I have ever known. The crowds on the day were testament to that as well, the queue was right out to the gate of the GAA club, we got a bit overwhelmed, that is testament to the impact he had on people.”