Pensioner seeks support as couch surfs through Donegal

 Dr Marty Holland presents the proceeds from the first leg of his Coast for Cancer challenge to Mark Mellett, Head of Fundraising, Irish Cancer Society.

Dr Marty Holland presents the proceeds from the first leg of his Coast for Cancer challenge to Mark Mellett, Head of Fundraising, Irish Cancer Society.

COACH surfing pensioner Dr Marty Holland will kick off the second leg of his Coast for Cancer challenge this Thursday, a 4,000km walk around the coast of Ireland in aid of the Irish Cancer Society.

The 66-year-old Belfast native, a long term resident of Cratloe, Co Clare, has already walked over 2,000km and raised over €30,000 to support cancer patients through the Irish Cancer Society.


He resumes the second half of his challenge in Muff this Thursday, having already walked from Clare to Derry in an anti-clockwise direction around coast. Marty will walk the entire Donegal coast taking in locations including Malin Head, Buncrana, Letterkenny, Dunfanaghy, Portnoo, Killibegs and Bundoran on route to Sligo.

As part of his unique fundraiser, Marty is couch surfing around the country, relying on the kindness of strangers to put him up overnight. So far he has been welcomed into over 50 private homes, and is appealing to locals to help him out by donating at, or by providing him with a place to sleep as he walks the coast of the county.

Marty plans to walk daily until he reaches the Clare border on June 30th and completes his challenge to raise €50,000 to support the work of the Irish Cancer Society.

Marty was inspired to take up the challenge to fund-raise for the Irish Cancer Society after witnessing two friends die from cancer. “Watching two dear friends die from cancer was devastating. So I decided to take action and join the fight back against cancer, so that hopefully one day we can stop this dreadful disease. The most powerful weapon against cancer is research and I have seen the benefits of on-going research in the growing number of people who are surviving and recovering from cancer including my own sisters and brother.

“The Irish Cancer Society invests heavily in research, and also support services to help people on that cancer journey. If by undertaking this coastal journey around Ireland, I can help stop cancer and support people going through it, then every single step will have been worth it,” he added.

The society also provides a range of support services including Night Nursing to care for seriously ill patients in their homes, a freephone Cancer Nurseline 1800 200 700 providing advice and support, and a Volunteer Driver Service to bring patients to their hospital appointments.

To donate visit


Those wishing to offer support of any kind can contact Marty directly at his email address He would particularly welcome offers of accommodation and/or transportation of luggage from point to point along the route.

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