Foundation reeling from loss of its great champion
HOSPICE Foundation PRO Andrea O’Donoghue said the organisation is reeling from the loss of its beloved chairman and champion.
“There’s now such a big void in the Kerry Hospice. Ted was just so passionate about everything and this filtered down to every one of the branch members in Kerry and you couldn’t help but be enthused by him,” Andrea said.
Ted helped to organise the first fundraising walk along the Dingle Way in 1990 when he was a member of the FCA. He had a brush with cancer himself in 1983 and having got the all clear a year later spent the next 24 years of his life travelling to Dublin for regular check-ups. This made Ted acutely aware of the absence of a hospice in his own county which is when the first seeds of the Kerry Hospice were sown. The growth ever since has been phenomenal and Ted’s reputation and sincerity have extended beyond the county bounds, as Andrea explains.
“The amount of people that called me from outside Kerry to express their sympathies is testament to the fact he had contacts and was known all over Ireland. He wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to the Kerry Hospice. His personality just drew people towards him. To listen to one of Ted’s speeches you gain an amazing sense of how much he actually cared about cancer services.”
Ted approached Andrea about joining the Kerry Hospice shortly after her own father passed away from cancer some years ago which, on reflection, she maintains helped her through a difficult time in life. Andrea said Ted always held the people of Kerry in high regard as it was they who drove the sails for much of his hard work and vision with their donations.
Ted’s dream was first realised in 2007 when €3.6 million was raised to complete a new Palliative Day Care Unit.
In September 2017, a new 15-bed In-Patient Palliative Care Unit was opened costing €6.2 million. In total, KHF managed to raise over €12 million in its 28-year-long history. Ted’s crowning glory came in January 2017 when he was named Kerry Person of the Year by the Kerry Association in Dublin in recognition of his contribution to KHF for over two decades; an accolade Ted shared in kind with the people of the county and his fellow KHF colleagues down through the years.
Andrea also remembers the opening of the new unit last year when RTE journalist and Duagh native Katie Hannon summed Ted up perfectly when she said his influence was far greater than any political influence as he was able to manage and master all branches in Kerry by just being himself.
The annual Good Friday Walk is another fantastic legacy of Ted’s as thousands of people from all over the county meet for a walk and to raise funds for cancer services.
“I think the branches in Kerry are getting stronger and from talking to people about Ted’s death it has shaken them a little.”
We still have a pledge to raise €400,000 every year for the first five years of the new impatient unit; and while this work will have to continue, it doesn’t take from the fact we’re left with a major gap in the foundation through Ted’s loss.”
“I think this will only help make us stronger and make us keep going. Ted started an Empire and we’ll definitely keep it going for him,” Andrea said.
A proud moment for Ted and all in the Hospice Foundation at the opening of the new unit last year.
Ted and wife Breda attending an IT Tralee event back in 2008.
ABOVE: Tewith the 2015 Rose of Tralee Elysha Brennan. BELOW: Taing the Bishop of Kerry Ray Browne through t e plans of the now open unit.