Solicitors and friends Annajane Cunningham and Caoimhe McConnell are flying to the Far East today to participate in a road race in Angor Wat, Cambodia, to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.
The Angkor Wat International Half Marathon and 10k road race takes place in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 8 December.
The pair are dong the run to honour the memory of Caoimhe’s younger brother Conan, who sadly passed away from the disease on 22 July, at the young age of 34.
The runners hope to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, and have issued an appeal for donations.
Inherited chronic disease
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. Ireland has the highest incidence of cystic fibrosis in the world and approximately one in 19 Irish people are said to carry the gene.
CF is present at birth and occurs because both parents carry a CF gene. There is a one-in-four chance of getting cystic fibrosis in this scenario.
Conan McConnell was diagnosed with CF at the age of seven months. Despite the diagnosis, he only ever had two brief hospital admissions. Conan went to school and college, started a job, travelled, and then fell in love with Aleksandra.
However, in February his lung collapsed. Conan died in July while awaiting a transplant, despite the best efforts of his medical team and family to keep him alive.
Shock and despair
Caoimhe’s shock and despair at the loss of her beloved brother prompted her to do something positive in his memory.
“I wanted to become an ambassador for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, and I wanted to make positive changes in my own life,” she says.
She began running, and used the time to connect with memories of her brother Conan.
And running has helped Caoimhe deal with her sorrow.
“Grief takes away so much, but it also leaves a few sweet gifts, such as gratitude. Once you lose someone you love, you become so acutely aware of how fleeting the good times are.
“Despite my immeasurable loss, I have also become more resilient and determined as a person. I want to channel this energy into making a positive impact,” she says.
She and Annajane are asking for support by clicking the ‘give now’ button.
“The more people that know about Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, the greater their impact, so please feel free to share the link with family and friends,” Caoimhe requests.