The grand total was announced on Tuesday, on what would have been Mary Ellen's 28th birthday.

More than €33,000 has been raised in memory of Mary Ellen Molloy, a much-loved young woman who passed away at Christmas 2019.

Hundreds of people all over the world joined the “Walk With M.E.” St. Stephen’s Day 5k to celebrate Mary Ellen’s life and support two important causes.

Mary Ellen, from Ardara, died at the age of 26 following a tragic car accident in Melbourne, where she been working as a psychiatric nurse.

The late Mary Ellen Molloy

This Christmas past, her younger brother John Ross Molloy was inspired by friends to unite communities around the world to raise funds and promote awareness for Downstrands Family Resource Centre counselling services for people who have lost loved ones. Funds were also collected for The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, whose services support bereaved families in the event of the sudden death of a loved one abroad.

Communities united – virtually- from Donegal, Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Mayo, Tipperary, Wexford, Meath, Tyrone, London and New York , Perth and the Gold Coast Australia to complete the 5km.

The grand total was announced on Tuesday, on what would have been Mary Ellen’s 28th birthday.

“The support that everybody was willing to give was just incredible and it was a real tribute to the sort of person Mary Ellen was,” her family said.

Mary Ellen’s family have thanked every who took part and supported their event.

A message on Facebook said: “We’d especially like to thank all of Mary Ellen’s friends, Kayla Baskin, Charlene Breslin, Joanne Maloney, Nicole Sweeney, Regina Shovlin. They came up with this idea to remember Mary Ellen and those we have loved and lost.

“But most of all, we must thank you, the people who braved the weather that day and donated in any way at all. €33,215 far exceeded any expectations we had when beginning this and we are beyond grateful.”

The family said they planned to announce the total much sooner, but because generous donations continued days and even weeks after the walk had taken place.

“The generosity shown is overwhelming and will go on to help so many people. Helping families like ours that have to use the Kevin Bells Repatriation Trust to bring home a loved one from overseas. To someone who needs help from the Downstands/Glenties counselling service to get through a challenging time in their lives,” they said.

As a result of this year’s success, it is now hoped that Walk with M.E. can continue again this year.