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  • Northside East

Marathon effort in memory of Aoife

Tuesday, 27th February, 2018 8:00am
Marathon effort in memory of Aoife

The Malahide group who will be travelling to London in memory of Aoife Hendrick.

Marathon effort in memory of Aoife

The Malahide group who will be travelling to London in memory of Aoife Hendrick.

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Shauna Bowers 

A GROUP of Malahide locals are running the Big Half Marathon in London on March 4 in aid of a cause dedicated to the memory of a local girl.

‘Aoife’s Clown Doctors’ was established in 2014, in memory of Aoife Hendrick (5) who passed away from acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2012, four months after she was diagnosed.

Aoife attended Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, from May of that year. After her passing, her parents Aine and Adrian wanted to create something in her legacy. They set up ‘Aoife's Clown Doctors’, a team of professional performers trained to work in hospitals.  These performers go into the children’s wards at Crumlin Hospital twice a week to bring some fun and smiles to the families there. 

They help create excitement and laughter on the wards by parodying medical procedures and typical hospital happenings, helping to ease the fear and stress for children and parents in the hospital.

A visit from a ‘Clown Doctor’ can include oversized medical equipment, 'red-nose' transplants, 'cat' scans and funny bone examinations.

This weekend 27 women and one husband, from Malahide, will travel to London to run the half marathon which starts at Tower Bridge and finishes at Greenwich. Their aim is to raise funds for ‘Aoife’s Clown Doctors’. 

Most of the ladies who will run the half marathon play for the St Sylvester’s Gaelic4Mothers football team. 

Dee Roche, one of the runners taking part, said: “Last April we were at a match, we were in the changing room and people were like: go on book it [the half marathon] and we did. 

“Things just kind of went from there and we didn’t think too much about it.”

“Then a few months later we decided to do it for Aine’s daughter Aoife. It’s [the cause] close to us as well which makes it that bit more special.”

The locals doing the half marathon want to increase the smiles spread around and so their motto is: ‘Smiles with our Miles’.

Aoife’s mother, Aine, told Northside People: “When Aoife was in Crumlin Hospital she received a visit from one of the ‘Clown Doctors’ and she laughed so much.

“It was such a beautiful sound because she hadn’t been laughing much because she was in a lot of discomfort.

“A couple of years later, we heard that the ‘Clown Doctors’ had been stopped because the recession hit and there wasn’t enough funding.

“It was really sad to hear because Aoife had so much laughter because of the ‘Clown Doctors’ and we wanted other children to share in that laughter too.”

‘Aoife’s Clown Doctors’ bring smiles and laughter to so many sick children in Crumlin and they are hoping to extend that fun to Temple Street Children's Hospital and Tallaght Hospital in the near future. They are currently in the process of becoming a registered charity.

“It’s true what they say: laughter really is the best medicine,” Aine said.

Aoife’s parents are very grateful to the group who are putting in so much effort into celebrating the memory of their daughter.

“They’re celebrating Aoife’s legacy,” Aine added. 

“As any parent who has lost a child will know, keeping their memory alive is so important. They’re keeping Aoife’s memory alive.”

If you would like to make a donation visit

• The runners taking part are Dee Roche, Hazel Leonard, Barbara Wiseman, Eadaoin Kelly, Ciara Mollahan, Jenny Murphy, Cecilia Zega, Trish Crothers, Michele Hennessy, Eimear McDonnell, Lorraine Craig, Karen Butler, Monica Aslett, Ciara Mahon, Adrienne O'Hare, Justine O'Flanagan, Anne Lawlor, Aoife Haverty, Caroline Curran, Ciara Garvan, Susan Campbell, Veronica Higueras, Kait McSweeney, Caroline Long, Beata Polanska, Melissa Power, Laura Corbet and Ger Byrne. 

Aine Hendrick (Aoife’s mum) and Barbara Wiseman with one of the ‘Clown Doctors’ (centre).

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