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In Pictures: Two Laois sisters raise almost €10,000 in memory of beloved late dad

Two Laois sisters have raised almost €10,000 in memory of their beloved late dad.

Paula and Gemma Delaney, who hail from Camross, raised €9,468 for the A&E Department of Portlaoise Hospital and the Irish Heart Foundation – with each receiving €4,734.

The pair generated the funds in memory of their dad Jim Delaney by climbing Carrauntoohil.

Paula is an Emergency Medical Technician for Medicall Ambulance Service and Gemma is a third year nursing student who has been working in Portlaoise Hospital for the past 16 years.

Their dad James, better known as Jim Delaney, was born and reared in Glendine in the Slieve Bloom Mountains.

Paula explained how she and her sister decided to take on the fundraiser.

She said: “Daddy loved the mountain and we spent most of our childhood up there with him, a tradition he carried on with his grandchildren.

“On June 1 2020, he unexpectedly and suddenly passed away following a heart attack.

“The team in A&E in Portlaoise very quickly stabilised him and gave him the best chance possible before sending him urgently to St James’s in Dublin.

“The staff in Portlaoise showed outstanding kindness and compassion to our family in the early hours of that Bank Holiday Monday and we can never thank them enough.

“We decided to raise funds in daddy’s memory as a token of gratitude to them and we also decided to support the Irish Heart Foundation.

“With daddy’s love of the mountains, we thought what better way to honour him than take on the biggest mountain in Ireland.

“This seemed more of a task than we realised having to reschedule the date three times due to government guidelines and restrictions due to Covid-19. Our hotel that we had booked had a fire and closed for renovations – it seemed like the day would never come.

“But finally on the of July 10 2021, we got to honour our promise and stand on the summit of Carrauntoohil.

“It was an emotional moment as we embraced each other at the top along with Gemma’s husband James and close friends and motivators Paul and Kirsty of OB Personal Training.

“It took six and a half hours to complete, having said that we enjoyed taking in the sights and the banter with other climbers so we were in no rush.”

Paula said they were overwhelmed with the support they received.

She also gave a mention to the Dooley family who lost their beloved Kathleen this year and made a very generous donation.

She said: “we set up a GoFundMe Page explaining our goal and local shops and businesses displayed sponsorship cards.

“We were kindly sponsored by Carroll’s Spar Mountrath and Conroy’s Pharmacy Mountrath.

“Camross National School, Kudz Kidz Preschool, OB personal training and Mountrath Ladies football club all held events to raise money for our fundraiser.

“Sadly on February 12 this year the Dooley family from Hillview in Camross suffered the same loss in their beloved Kathleen.

“They contributed greatly to our cause both with a heartfelt donation and amazing encouragement and support to our family throughout.

“We are blown away with the support and well wishes we have received.

“We would like to especially mention our mam Viv Delaney whose strength and love helped us throughout our person journey, she is an amazing mother and friend.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.