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07 Dec 2021

Donegal Camino raises €26,000 for Cancer Care West Services

Donegal showcased as a walkers paradise

Donegal Camino raises €26,000 for Cancer Care West Services

The Donegal Camino has raised €26,000 for much needed Cancer Care West services in Donegal. The splendid 8-day walk also showcased the county as a walking destination of excellence. From the northerly point of  Malin Head to Europe’s Highest Cliffs, Slieve League, almost 100 kilometres were walked by over fifty pilgrims from September 4 to 11. 

The concept came from Inishowen business woman, Peggy Stringer,  who in 2020 created her own post lockdown walking holiday with friends to raise funds  for Cancer Care West while casually calling it the Donegal Camino. The seed was sown and  nurtured over the winter and following conversations with friends, Donegal Person of the  Year, Noel Cunningham and Deirdre Mc Glone former owner of Harvey’s Point, the three  went onto create the wonderful Donegal Camino which will now become an annual event. 

“Raising funds for Cancer Care West services and a dedicated Inis Aoibhinn unit in  Letterkenny is the primary aim of the Donegal Camino”, says Noel Cunningham.

“Our second objective is to profile the stunning scenery, coastal and mountain walking trails across Donegal combined with the county’s rich tradition of true Irish hospitality, good food, entertainment and wonderful people,” he said. 

As with the original Camino di Santiago, the Donegal Camino has the same values. A walk,  hike and way, demonstrating fervour, enthusiasm, hospitality, culture and spiritual roots, the Donegal Camino gelled each person participating, and their individual journey and  story became bonded in friendship song, stories, fun and laughter over eight days.

Led by expert Donegal guides, John Mc Groarty, Joe Coyle and Denis Sheridan, the Donegal Camino trailed its way from the wildness of the Malin Head  Coastline in Inishowen to the stunning beauty of Ballymastacker Beach and majestic Fanad  Head on its first weekend. This was followed by a week of enthusiastic walkers relishing  the splendour of winding roads, the climb of Lough Salt, a cycle in fabulous sunshine in  Glenveagh National Park to the challenges of Port Lough in torrential rain and the unique  island loop of Arranmore. The final weekend brought the walkers to the southwest Donegal  Gaeltacht region, and spiritual learning of the tradition and meaning of Colmcille’s Way,  culminating safely on the majestic Pilgrims Path and One Man’s Pass on the challenging  Slieve League Cliffs. 

A key daily driver for all participating was the enthusiastic morning chats regarding the  previous evenings food and entertainment as the Donegal Camino brought together its  finest chefs, food producers, hotels and accommodation along with the best of the  county’s musicians and entertainers. All of which was perfect nourishment for the hearts,  souls and minds of sometimes tired bodies. The excitement of who would join the daily  route of the Donegal Camino was a main talking point as the county’s famous faces of Noel  Cunningham, Mickey Joe Harte, Moya Brennan, The Henry Girls and Daniel O’Donnell all  showed their support by taking time out to walk and entertain the enthusiastic group.

Deirdre McGlone said: “it’s beyond words the pride I’ve felt since completing the Donegal  Camino journey, from planning the event with Noel and Peggy to walking the 8 days with  truly amazing, fun and brilliant people. Donegal looked amazing and the joy it brought to  the fifty walkers and all of the places we visited, stayed, dined and enjoyed music will  remain with me forever. It was true Donegal hospitality and tourism at its absolute best  while raising funds for Cancer Care West which is so close to all of our hearts.” 

“We want to thank every one who donated, to the Donegal Camino fundraising for Cancer  Care West, €26,000 shows the support that’s out there for this much needed service in  Donegal but also the generosity of the people”, says Peggy Stringer.  

Cancer Care West provides practical and emotional support to people with cancer throughout the West and Northwest. The services ensure that patients don’t face cancer  alone and Cancer Care West support centres in Letterkenny and Galway as well as Inis Aoibhinn the accommodation lodge, used by patients undergoing radiotherapy in  University Hospital Galway offer emotional and social support for everyone going through  cancer treatment. Cancer Care West does not charge for any of its services which are  offered free to all who need them. 

Richard Flaherty, CEO of Cancer Care West said: “Cancer Care West is delighted with the  results achieved by the organisers of the Donegal Camino at the beginning of September. This was a hugely successful event and special thanks goes to Peggy Stringer whose  original idea this was along with Deirdre Mc Glone and our patron Noel Cunningham. It is  so good to see that fundraising need not be a chore, as by all accounts the Donegal  Camino was full of fun, laughter with craic agus ceoil thrown in! Due to its success people  are already on standby for places for next year! Our support Centre in Letterkenny which  is completely reliant on fundraising to run its vital services will benefit from the  proceeds of the Camino.”

If you would like to support the efforts of Cancer Care West, please log onto www.cancercarewest.ie.  

A phenomenal success, the Donegal Camino is scheduled for Saturday September 3 to Saturday, Septe,ber 10, 2022 and while the interest in it is already huge, numbers will be strictly  limited.

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