An American woman was so inspired by last year's Relay for Life that she is leading a team coming to Donegal this summer.

As the countdown continues to this year’s Donegal Relay for Life its impact on a global scale can be gauged by the confirmation that a group from the United States will be travelling to participate in the event on May 27th/28th.

In the light of the recent announcement of a major new research project for cancer survivors to be based at Letterkenny University Hospital, the news that a team of 15 Relayers will be making the journey to Donegal adds another boost in the never-ceasing battle against the disease.

Two members of the U.S. team had watched last year’s Relay for Life in Letterkenny via the live streaming of the event and the impact of the singing of ‘Ireland’s Call’ at the end of it touched them profoundly so much so that they knew Ireland would be their next destination.

One of the American representatives, Nancy Douglas, herself a cancer survivor, said she had been stunned to hear Donegal Relay chairperson, Robert O’Connor, talk at last year’s Relay about her diagnosis and refer to a posting she had put on Facebook.

“We don’t realise the impact we have here in Letterkenny and how this is so much a global movement,” Donegal Relay committee member, Ena Barrett, told Tuesday night’s launch of Relay 2017.


At this week’s launch in the Mount Errigal Hotel, an appeal went out for more teams to take part in the event in May.

“We are trying to raise 100,000 euro towards the research project which is a huge target and we are looking to get fifty teams involved this year,” committee member, Seamus Devine, revealed.

“If you know of anyone who is even half thinking about it, try and encourage them to go the full way and get a team together.”

A number of cancer survivors addressed the launch including well-known broadcaster, Donal Kavanagh, a member of the survivors choir that will be performing at the Relay for Life event.

Robert O’Conor with Donal Kavanagh taking notes at the launch of the 2017 Relay For Life on Tuesday night last. Photo Clive Wasson

He highlighted the vital role that caregivers play in the recovery process – work that often went unrecognised.

An appeal also went out to local secondary schools to get involved in the Relay project.

The research project, which will cover a period of twelve to eighteen months, will involve 120 participants who will attend the cancer unit at Letterkenny University Hospital.

A device will be used to monitor diet, sleep and exercise patterns during the programme and the research will help determine how people feel both physically and psychologically after they have had cancer and how it can be improved.

The major initiative will be confined to Donegal initially but it is hoped to lead on to a national level eventually.

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