Malin Head native Rita Casey gratefully accepted the title of Mayo Person of the Year at an awards luncheon last weekend.

Rita Casey (née Doherty), who is living and working as a garda in Charlestown, was selected by the Mayo Association Dublin or her outstanding fundraising and other achievements while undergoing treatment for brain and lung cancer.

Last October, Rita ran the Dublin City marathon whilst undergoing chemotherapy and raised an impressive €232,300 for Mayo/Roscommon Hospice Foundation.

Speaking on her award, she said: “I’m so excited, I can’t believe it really. I’m just delighted. To get the Virginia Gallagher Award is amazing considering her husband is from Charlestown, it makes it even more special.”

“Rita may have been born a Donegal woman, but Mayo has been her home for over 20 years and she is a worthy recipient for the Mayo Person of the Year,” said the Mayo Association Dublin.

Saturday’s Mayo Person of the Year Awards in the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin is Martina Jennings, CEO Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation, Mayo Person of the Year 2024 Rita Casey, Joanne Grehan, Board Member Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation and Laura Coleman, Family Therapist at Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation. MAXWELLS

Rita Casey was diagnosed with stage 4 brain and lung cancer in May 2021, having previously overcome breast cancer in 2017.

The Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation has been a huge support to Rita and her family since her diagnosis. She finds running a great source of stress relief, and with the assistance of medication, she completed the 42.2KM Dublin City Marathon in just four hours and four minutes.

Rita was also honoured with the Lord Mayor’s Medal award at the Dublin marathon in October.

A mother of three, Rita is well supported by her husband, former Mayo footballer John Casey, who played in the 1996 and 1997 All-Ireland finals.

Rita is also a guest speaker at the final event of the ‘Let’s Talk About Cancer’ series this April. The event, taking place in Carrick on Shannon on Sat 13th April, will be looking at the role of sport in combating a cancer diagnosis.