A FATHER who suffered the loss of a stillborn child ran the Dublin City Marathon to raise funds for Feileacáin, a charity that helps bereaved families.
Fergal Barry from Bagenalstown raised more than €4,500 when he ran the marathon for the first time last year in memory of his baby girl Evelyn, who was stillborn in August 2016.
“It was a horrendous time for us,” said Fergal. “We are blessed to have Aaron, who would have been Evelyn’s big brother, but it was a horrendous time. It was very difficult for us.”
Before the death of their beloved baby, Fergal and his wife Tara Ferrissey had never heard of Feileacáin, an organisation that supports bereaved parents.
The charity presented the couple with a memory box, which contained a beautiful, hand-knitted shawl, a kit for taking Evelyn’s tiny hand and footprints and two teddies. One of the teddies was buried with the baby, with Fergal and Tara keeping the other one. Feileacáin also helped them to arrange Evelyn’s christening in St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny, where she was born.
“Evelyn was treated like any other baby,” said Fergal. “At first we were numb and shocked, but what Feileacáin did for us did help with the grieving process.”
The charity doesn’t get any state funding, so all monies have to be fundraised by volunteers to allow them to continue their work. Fergal, who had never even run a kilometre before, decided to tackle the Dublin City Marathon to “give something back to Feileacáin and maybe help other families who will, sadly, go through what we went through”.
Fergal got to present the €4,521 to Jessica Murphy from Feileacáin in March, when she travelled to the Lord Bagenal Hotel in Leighlinbridge to meet them.
Fergal is now back in training with St Laurence O’Toole’s Athletic Club because he intends to run the marathon again later this year.
“Without a shadow of a doubt I’m going to do it again and raise funds for them. I loved every minute of doing the marathon and I couldn’t have done it without the help of St Laurence O’Toole’s. They were amazing. They got me from not even running a kilometre to running a marathon,” concluded Fergal.
To contact Féileacáin Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland, call 085 2496464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.