Thursday, February 02, 2023

The team of Laois firefighters will bravely go to Hell and Back next June to help children with cancer. Members are pictured after completing the challenge last year in aid of the AsIam national autism charity

By Carmel Hayes

A TEAM of Laois firefighters is set to go to hell and back to help children with cancer.

Fire officers and firefighters from across the county will take part in a 13k Hell and Back challenge on 10 June, in aid of the Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The team decided to step forward for the vital cause, as a result of the experience of a close former member of the Laois County Fire and Rescue Service.

Retired firefighter John Ging, who was sub officer at Portlaoise fire station, is very grateful to the hospital where one of his children received treatment for cancer in the past. His personal story prompted his kind former colleagues to set up the fundraiser.

The team said: “John would like to thank the Denis Burkitt ward in St James’s Hospital for all their help and hopefully this extra money will help kids in future. Every donation will help to further improve treatment for other children, who may need help towards accommodation and expenses while going through this.”

The Hell and Back obstacle course at the Killruddery Estate in Bray, Co Wicklow, is regarded as one of Ireland’s toughest mental and physical endurance challenges.

The team will have to cross rivers and lakes, climb hills and mountains and crawl through bogs and swamps in a gruelling natural environment, with tortuous man-made obstacles.

The local fire and rescue crews select a different charity each year for the annual fundraiser. They completed the Hell and Back challenge last year for the national autism charity AsIAm.

Organised by Portarlington firefighter Ed Gallagher, who will take part in the challenge again this year, the fundraiser can be found online at the gofundme page ‘Firecrew 2023 for Children with Cancer’.

The team has a target of €5,000 but every little helps. Members from the Kildare service are also taking part in the challenge.

As they embarked on a tough training regime, the team said: “Thank you in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to us and it will mean even more to the families and children affected.”







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