ICU doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, hospice staff, paramedics and gardaí launch Covid-19 cycle of remembrance to honour the 7000+ lives lost to the virus in an all-Ireland ICU4U charity cycle and memorial event on Sept 2-3.
The event aims to raise €150k for ALONE (older people), Aware (mental health supports), Aware NI (supports for overcoming depression) and Breakthrough Cancer Research (new treatments for cancer patients).
Frontline medical staff throughout the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will cycle to the Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge in Dublin this September to remember all those who have lost their lives to Covid-19. They also aim to raise €150,000 for those impacted by the secondary challenges of the pandemic.
The ICU4U event will see small teams of ICU doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance drivers, other healthcare staff and gardaí depart from hospitals in Cork, Belfast, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford on 2-3 September, with midway points in Dundalk, Athlone, Portlaoise and Kilkenny. The cyclists will pass through as many community hospitals as possible en route to Dublin, collecting white roses along the way to represent lives lost to the virus.
At the end of the cycle on Friday 3rd September, a brief commemoration ceremony will be held in line with public health restrictions at the Memorial Gardens Islandbridge. The memorial will remember the victims of Covid-19 in front of 7000+ white roses, which will be displayed at the gardens for the weekend.
On Saturday 4th September members of the public will be invited to visit the commemoration site to take a rose and remember a loved one, making a charitable donation if they so wish.
The ICU4U event aims to raise more than €150,000 for four charities supporting people particularly affected by the pandemic – ALONE (supporting older people) , Aware (mental health supports), and Aware NI (supports for overcoming depression and changing lives in Northern Ireland), and Breakthrough Cancer Research (funding new treatments for poor prognosis and difficult to treat cancers).
More than half of the fundraising target has already been reached through incredible corporate sponsorship from AerCap, Fannins Healthcare, Lilly, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Resmed, Medserv, Gilead, GSK and others. The initiative is also supported by Dalata Hotels, the Radisson Hotel Athlone, the Harris Group (vans), Irish Rail, and The Flower Box.
The event follows on from last year’s ICU4U fundraising cycle when doctors, nurses and staff from Ireland’s Intensive Care Units (ICU) successfully raised €120,000 for the charities. At the time, many working in the ICU felt uncomfortable with being labelled heroic and wanted to turn the focus back on those most in need and help charities to raise funds to keep their services running.
Organiser of ICU4U Dr. Patrick Seigne, Consultant Intensivist at Cork University Hospital ICU, said, “My colleagues and I working in the ICU, hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and other frontline services have witnessed incredible tragedy over the past year because of Covid-19, so we’ve come together to do a remembrance event for the victims and their families. We have all seen the secondary challenges of the pandemic, in particular with older people, those in nursing homes, those experiencing anxiety and mental illness, and cancer patients so we hope the cycle will also raise much needed funds for four charities supporting these vulnerable people in our society – ALONE, Aware, Aware NI and Breakthrough Cancer Research.
Serena O’Brien, an ICU Nurse affiliated with IACCN (Irish Association of Critical Care Nurses), said “We want to do this cycle as we’ve all unfortunately witnessed a lot of deaths because of the Covid pandemic over the past year and we’ve seen the toll it has had on families, especially when they couldn’t be there for their loved ones. Not only will this be a way to remember all these wonderful people, but it will also raise money for others who have been indirectly affected. We hope the general public will get behind us again this year!”
Eileen Finucane from Killarney, who lost her 59 year old partner Seamus O’Connor to Covid last year, said, “Tragically more than 7,000 people have lost their lives to this terrible virus and my partner was one of them. I urge everyone to get vaccinated, as that’s the only way we will beat this disease and prevent more loss. The ICU team were incredible during Seamus’ time in Cork University Hospital and it’s so moving that they are yet again there for family members by remembering our loved ones and by raising much needed funds for those who now need our help.”
The 2-day ICU4U Cycle, which will strictly adhere to public health restrictions, is a collaboration between healthcare staff at The Mater Dublin, Cork University Hospital, The Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast, Galway University Hospital, Limerick University Hospital, Crumlin/Temple St, Sligo University Hospital, and Waterford University Hospital. It will start from 6 locations in Cork, Belfast, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford on September 2nd and will end on September 3rd at the Memorial Gardens in Dublin.
ICU doctors, nurses and staff, and other frontline workers, are now calling on the public to help them exceed their €150,000 target. To donate see icu4u.ie