Team race for Grace

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Marie Duffy with baby Grace, her daughter Sarah and her husband Niall

“The 29th November 2011 was a grim day. A day I will never forget. A day that changed our lives forever.”

Marie Duffy, Grace's mum

This was the day that Marie Duffy, mum to baby Grace found out that her daughter had tested positive for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Marie was devastated by the news that rocked her new extended family. For the first 2 months of her life Grace was in Temple Street every week for check-ups. Marie and her husband were taught how to give their baby her medications and how to do physio on her which has to be done twice a day, every day, for the rest of her life. They also learnt that they had to give their new little girl digestive enzymes which she has to take before she eats anything.

Christmas was hard that year for Marie and her family, coming to terms with the shock, the grief and the denial but seeing Grace smile up at them and laugh without a care in the world made it a lot easier. To look at Grace you wouldn’t know a thing was wrong with her but it’s what is happening on the inside that is the scary part. CF is like an invisible disease.

“On NYE before the clock turned 12, I had a sudden urge of wanting to make a difference. I just felt helpless and I wanted to do something. There is no cure yet for Cystic Fibrosis so in the meantime while we wait for this cure I thought if Grace was going to be admitted into Temple street for an infection she would have an isolation room!! I decided I would write a text to every woman on my phone. I asked my family, my friends AND friends of friends to please make a new year’s resolution with me and help me raise money for an isolation room in Temple Street. I asked them to either run, walk or crawl the mini marathon with me.”

And so the challenge started. Marie had never done a marathon before in her life but she headed out every morning with Grace in the buggy all wrapped up. Grace would get her morning sleep and Marie could have a cry if she needed it or simply just reflect on everything that had happened to their little family. Her walks became a form of therapy. In the build up to the marathon, Marie got created hampers and went around all her local business asking them to do a raffle. Some of her team even got their work places involved by doing cake sales and small fundraisers!

The day of the marathon came – all of the girls standing at the start line  in the purple T-Shirts, with Grace on their minds and in their hearts.

“Coming to the end of the marathon my husband had brought my girls to cheer me on, so I took Grace and my 6 year old daughter and they came with me to the end of the line. I found it so rewarding and inspiring. Temple Street held a fantastic event after the race in Dicey Rileys, where we all sat back, had a bit of grub, a few drinks and a good laugh.”

As the days past Marie started to collect all the money from her team and the local businesses and she was blown away by how much her team had raised – a staggering €25,133.40. It was a huge achievement!

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Marie at the finish line with her two daughters Grace and Sarah

The big milestone for Marie was on January 20th 2014 when she was invited into Temple Street for the opening of our new Top Flat ward complete with state of the art Isolation Suites.

“What an amazing experience to see four state of the art Isolation Suites with ensuite facilities. Managing ‘Team Race for Grace’ was so rewarding and when I saw the results with my own eyes I was overwhelmed. Our hard work really paid off. Now Grace can go to a safe place that will add years to her life and prevent her from being exposed to threatening infections. I am over the moon and urge all women out there to do the mini marathon, You might just enjoy it…..”