A Donegal student is on the road to raising significant funds for Letterkenny Hospital in memory of two grandparents. 

Emily Hanley from Letterkenny, aged 21, sadly lost both her grandmother and grandfather in the space of five weeks in March and April. 

Her ‘Nana’, Dorothy Hanley from Ramelton, passed away on March 29th in Dublin and her ‘Gaga’, Joe Mc Ginley of Glencolmcille, passed away on April 25th of this year.

Emily Hanley and her late ‘Nana’ Dorothy Hanley (née Challans)

The amazing care that Dorothy and Joe received at Letterkenny University Hospital in the time before their deaths has inspired Emily to do a running challenge for the Intensive Care Unit and Coronary Care Units.

Emily, a novice road runner, is aiming to conquer 100km this June to generate support via GoFundMe.

“I was devastated after they both died but I tried to have a positive outlook on their memory. That’s my way of dealing with things. Even though it is hard,” Emily said.

Both Emily’s late grandparents had spent time in coronary care in recent years, while Joe battled through a period in ICU after suffering a heart attack last summer. 

“We always called him the miracle man for that,” Emily said.

Emily with her late ‘Gaga’ Joe McGinley and grandmother Rita

The kindness that staff showed to Emily and her family during difficult times is the main reason why she wants to give back now. 

“They were so kind. When granda was in ICU it was a shock to see all the equipment but the staff took time to explain what everything does. You can see that they think of patients like they’re their own family,” Emily said.

“With everything going on at the minute, I’m sure they might be under pressure but I know they work extremely hard in order to make sure that our loved ones receive the best care and support that they can.”

Emily’s fundraiser has also been a good source of motivation after a tough few months. She was finishing her final year of an Irish and History degree at St Patrick’s College in Dublin when Covid-19 hit and she suddenly found herself grieving the loss of two much-loved members of her family.

“I didn’t want to resit my exams. I needed to keep going and I know that they would want me to keep going,” she said.

With college complete, her focus is now fully on the running challenge. Emily is running a little each day and has already done 20K. 

Each journey has been boosted by donations to the GoFundMe campaign and Emily would like to wholeheartedly thank everybody who has donated so far. 

If you would like to donate, visit the GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/100k-in-one-month-in-aid-of-icu-and-coronary-care