The people of Rathangan and surrounds came out in droves to support A Run for Rosie last Sunday, February 24.
Organised by the Dowling family in memory of their fantastic mum Rosie, neighbours, friends and relations gathered at Rathangan Community Centre to remember the popular Newtown lady.
With over 1,200 participants registered to take part in the 3km buggy push, and the 5km/10km runs, the attendance far outweighed what the family had expected.
Rosie’s daughter Michelle said: “We were absolutely blown away, we were overwhelmed by the turn out and the support we received.
“We achieved what we set out to achieve, to raise awareness of SADS (Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome), and raise funds for the Mater screening programme, and to mark our mother’s first anniversary.”
She said Rosie cherished her family and they wanted to hold a fun event for all ages in honour of her. Rosie and her husband Gerry have seven children — Brian, Michelle, Valerie, Tracey, Paula, Aoife and Tara. Their grandchildren were also involved on the day and launched the run by cheering “run for nana Rosie”.
Gerry took part in the 5km run.
Their son Brian won Big Brother in 2001 and has gone on to become a well known presenter and TV personality. He was joined by his husband, choreographer Arthur Gourounlian who put the crowd through it’s paces for the warm up with help from some Paw Patrol characters. Their friend, blogger and model Pippa O’Connor also dropped by to lend her support.
Rosie’s brothers Robbie, Thomas and Harry McKenna, and her sister Maura Burke were also in attendance. Serious runners mingled with joggers and mums and dads with buggies, with longer distances sent off first towards Newtown shortly after 12 noon.
The rain held off and the mood was buoyant.
There was a fantastic atmosphere at the community centre afterwards with refreshments, fun games and a draw for some fantastic prizes.
On February 24 last year, the Dowling family’s world was shattered when Rosie passed away suddenly in her sleep. Fifty people die each year from SADS in Ireland — that’s one a week.
The Dowling family said they hoped they could create awareness about the family screening programme at the Mater and raise funds for the service, in a bid to prevent something similar happening to other families.