Foun­da­tion reel­ing from loss of its great cham­pion

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS - BY STEPHEN FERNANE

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.

Photo by Dom­nick Walsh

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.

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