A Portaferry family is embarking on a virtual ‘butterfly walk’ to Letterkenny in memory of the daughter they lost two years ago.
Abi Rogers was just 15 when she lost her battle with mental health issues. To keep her memory alive and to raise awareness of the struggles Abi went through, mum Cathy and step-dad Andrew have organised a virtual 103 mile walk or run from Seaforde Gardens Tropical Butterfly House in Downpatrick to Letterkenny’s Tropical World.
The venues are a symbol of Abi’s love of butterflies and the family is asking that during this, Suicide Awareness Week, teams of up to ten people complete the 103 miles – the distance between the two butterfly centres – and raise £1 per mile in aid of mental health charity Inspire Wellbeing.
Cathy and Andrew will complete the final stage of their 103 mile challenge in Letterkenny this weekend and in playing its part, Tropical World is donating all of this Sunday’s admissions to the zoo to Abi’s Butterfly Breeze. Thyme Out Cafe, Tropical World’s on-site eatery, will also open on Sunday with all proceeds again going to the charity drive.
Ahead of their visit to Letterkenny, when they will be on hand on Sunday at Tropical World with donation buckets, Abi’s mum told the Donegal News they have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by the county.
“It has been really touching. When we spoke to Clive at Alcorns he said he wanted to do something and even when we were out for a bite to eat, people were coming up and offering their support.
“The Station House Hotel told us they wanted to sponsor us and they giving us a room for the two nights we will be in Donegal. It has been amazing and quite emotional to be honest.”
While this is the first link up between Abi’s family and Donegal, it will not be the last. Talks are taking place with Letterkenny Athletics Club about establishing a 10K event next year while Cathy and Andrew say they want to cement further their connection with Alcorn’s.
“Abi loved butterflies and she would have loved all this,” said Cathy.
“Even now when I’m talking to you a butterfly has just landed on the window. And that is what keeps us going, knowing that Abi is with us and is looking down on us.”
Cathy and Andrew will be fundraising in Tropical World this Sunday afternoon. Everyone is welcome and for more information on how to donate check out the Abi’s Butterfly Breeze Facebook page.