Hundreds set to take part in Relay for Life

by Paddy Walsh

HUNDREDS are expected to take part in this year’s Donegal Relay for Life which runs over twenty-fours from Saturday afternoon helping to raise funds and awareness in the battle against cancer.

Singer Daniel O’Donnell will spearhead the entertainment element of an event that is both inspirational and emotional and literally spells out hope for those affected.


Survivors, carers and those who have passed away will all be remembered and honoured this weekend with the event commencing at 4pm on Saturday and running through to 4pm on Sunday at the Atlantic Technological Campus (ATU) in Letterkenny.

“We have thirty-eight teams taking part compared to twenty-nine last year and the input and enthusiasm from all of them has been amazing.

There was a fantastic turnout at the three team captains’ meeting we’ve held over the past couple of months,” says new chairman, Seamus Devine.

“All of them have been organising different fund-raising events since entering their teams – just brilliant to see and obviously a great boost to Relay for Life.”

The entertainments team, led by Ena Barrett, and enthusiastically assisted by Davy Cowan and Sophia Whoriskey, have been busy preparing for both the Saturday and Sunday slots.

The first act will take to the stage on Saturday at the A.T.U. campus at 2pm followed by a whole array of talented musicians and artists while Sunday will be no different.

Well, slightly different for from 1.30pm through to 3.30pm the one and only Daniel O’Donnell will be performing alongside special guests.


Both the Kincasslagh singer and his wife Majella have been heavily involved in Relay for Life since its inception and the new chairman is keen to spell out their contribution to the event.

“Daniel and Majella are joint patrons of Donegal Relay for Life and do so much to promote it,” Seamus insists.

The singer’s initial involvement came about in his eagerness to support the Irish Cancer Society – a year later his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer adding a truly personal dimension to his connection to the cause and the event.

“They are wonderful ambassadors for Relay for Life and we look forward to seeing them over the weekend.”

Another internationally acclaimed performer in the music world, Maire Brennan, will also be lending her voice and musicianship to the event when she participates in the hugely moving Luminaria ceremony on Saturday night – this time out wearing the crown of Donegal Person of the Year.

Many more singers and musicians will be performing over the weekend – not least of which is the Relay for Life Survivors Choir which has been an inspirational part of the annual event under the enthusiasm and expertise of Donal Kavanagh.

‘The Survivors Choir is such an important part of Relay – not just because of the great songs they perform but also because of the fun element they bring.”

That fun element will be in evidence throughout the twenty-four hours as laughter mixes with the emotional features of Donegal Relay for Life.

Virtually coinciding with this year’s Relay will be another twenty-four event being staged at Oakfield Park in Raphoe where patrons will be able to avail of the Difflin Lake Railway which will run throughout the night from 6pm on Saturday to 6pm on Sunday with all proceeds going to the Relay initiative.

The by now traditional Gospel Hour and Ecumenical Service will be broadcast on Highland Radio from the An Danlann hall on Sunday morning from 9am – another stirring feature of Relay for Life.

The Relay chairman acknowledges all those involved in helping to organise and promote the event at the ATU campus and credits the local media for the ‘incredible coverage” they provide and the “amazing committee” who are, he says, a testimony to the legacy inspired by his predecessor, Robert O’Connor.

“Robert helped put this event on the map and on behalf of the committee, I congratulate him on receiving the Civic Reception from Donegal County Council for all he has done. It was so well deserved.”

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