Former Ireland rugby captain Rory Best is on the third day of his 330km journey across Ireland to raise €2 million for Cancer Fund for Children.
In September 2021, Mr Best raised over €1 million to build ‘Daisy Lodge’ – a bespoke therapeutic centre in Cong, Co Mayo to provide support for families affected by cancer.
The project will cost a total of €15 million, so the former Ireland rugby captain hopes to raise a further €2 million for the respite facility this year.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Best said he is beginning his journey this morning from the Curragh, Kildare, with the hopes of walking to Portlaoise by this evening.
“This is the longest day so far, this might be the longest day of the entire ten days”, he said.
“This is the big day today.”
Mr Best said the walking is not taking too much of a physical toll yet.
“I’m being very well looked after, I sort of felt was maybe starting to get [a blister] yesterday,” he said.
“One of the services user families that walked with us, they sent the older and younger brother up the road to the sports shop to get me some more socks so we're going okay.”
‘A family unit again’
Mr Best said the motivation behind the charity walk was the idea that at Daisy Lodge, families who had a member battling cancer would have the chance to “be a family unit again.”
“Only one and seven referrals from Crumlin can stay there and that was too many that couldn't be serviced,” he said.
By building Daisy Lodge in Cong, Mayo, Mr Best said it would mean that “every child or family that has gone through cancer treatment can have a short respite stay in the entire island of Ireland and that was really the big driver.”
“I spent what seems like a lifetime representing Ireland at rugby and representing the whole island so this seems like a good cause.”
Time for our #RorysMiles2Mayo update!
Today, Rory will be walking 37.2 km through Monasterevin, Sheepstown & Portlaoise. Have a look to see if he’s walking through a town near you & come out to cheer him on 🥳
— Cancer Fund for Children (@CancerFundChild) May 18, 2023
Mr Best said in order to realise this dream, the project needs “quite a bit of money.”
“We were hoping for half a million the last time – we raised a million,” he said.
“€2 million is a massive ask … we know as a charity and as a team that is walking every day that we can only do so much.
“It's extending that team right out throughout all of Ireland – we need the generosity of the brilliant people on this island.
“Whether it's a very small amount or a very large amount, every little bit helps.”
Donations can be made on the official Rory's Miles 2 Mayo website.
For schools, communities and clubs, there are fundraising packs available for independent fundraising for the cause.
Donations can be made directly to the Child Fund for Children on their website.
Main image shows Rory Best on day 2 of #RorysMiles2Mayo (Photo from Cancer Fund for Children)