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Three Bridges Charity Walk raises over €2,000 for children’s charity

The vital funds will support Little Blue Heroes Foundation in making an impact on lives across Ireland. 

Unusual activity at Henry Street Garda Station made for a hectic weekend for both Gardaí and Honorary Gardaí of Ireland. 

Despite challenging weather conditions, The Three Bridges charity walk took place on Saturday (September 30) along with a family fun day at the station to raise funds for the Little Blue Heroes Foundation. 

To reach a goal of an accumulated 5, 000 kilometres, the loop walk of Limerick’s three iconic bridges must be completed a total of 1, 387 times. 

Nenagh Garda, Regina Reale, along with her son, Finn Reale, had been sheltering from the rain before coming out at midday to make their mileage for the foundation. 

“It’s just an amazing charity,” Regina beamed. “It’s a charity that’d be close to all our [Gardaí] hearts.” 

Music played by the Garda band chorused through crowds of ecstatic children, who smiled through painted faces while meeting their heroes in blue, the canine and the equine of the Garda unit. The Paw Patrol crew, the Armed Support unit and the civil defence, among others, also added to the excitement of the day. 

Photo by: Gemma Good

Munster Representative of the Little Blue Heroes Foundation, Patrick Harrington, observed the proceedings with delight. 

Patrick explained the charity provides financial and emotional support to families of children who are seriously ill. Among their initiatives is the Honorary Gardaí programme, where children are assigned to a buddy giving them the opportunity to experience life in An Garda Síochana. 

“We have great craic,” Patrick commented, explaining they set up checkpoint with the children and take them on the beat. 

The Cork City Garda recalled how the charity supported his family through a difficult time in their lives 

“Unfortunately, my eldest son passed away twelve days after his tenth birthday due to a cancer tumour.

“That was seven years ago this month,” he explained. “Conor was Honorary Garda 10; he was one of the first Little Blue Heroes of the country.” 

Having experienced how the foundation supports families and children, Patrick decided to get involved. 

“I just wanted to give back to them. I know what a lot of these families are going through both physically and emotionally and financially.

“All these children are so used to living lives of medication first thing in the morning,” he explained, detailing the necessity to “let them be ordinary children.”

“A smile on the face of a sick child, there’s no better reward than seeing that.”

Photo by: Gemma Good

Inside the station, along a corridor lined with interview rooms, Honorary Garda from Limerick, Andrew Dundon, watched a magic show with his mum, Trina. 

In a “small family” of herself, her son and their two dogs, Trina explained the comfort of knowing that she and her son have support from the foundation. 

“We wouldn’t have as many worries as we used to when he wasn’t a guard,” she said. 

“It’s just a lovely experience for him and it really brings him out of himself as well. They [the Little Blue Heroes Foundation] go above and beyond, they really do.” 

While outside getting their picture taken with the Liam MacCarthy cup, Sinead Naughton explained the charity has helped fund equipment for her son, Conn O’Neill, to “help him get more mobile” and by organising events where he can have “interaction with other kids.”

“We really feel the benefit from them,” she said. “They’re just a great organisation to find the time to do this on top of what they do.” 

The day concluded on 9, 245 kms with over €2,014 raised for the foundation as of Tuesday morning (October 3), with further donations expected in the coming days.

To find out more about Little Blue Heroes or to donate check their website at littleblueheroes.org

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