A local woman is set to kayak the length of Lough Ree this coming Saturday (25th) in order to raise funds for a very special ‘Christmas in June’ concert in aid of Brain Tumour Ireland, which takes place next year.
Married mother-of-one, Barbara Dowling (52), a classical clarinettist and peripatetic woodwind teacher from Newtowncashel in Co. Longford, had her world turned upside down in July 2019 when she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, Multiple Sclerosis, and thyroid cancer. Two years on and thankfully Barbara is now cancer-free but is about to start MS treatment with the brain tumour still in place.
“To look at me, you would think I was healthy…but scans, bloods, and all the other medical tests say otherwise,” she said.
“During all the various treatments over the last two years I came in contact with an organisation called Brain Tumour Ireland, a fully registered charity that is totally self-funding. They are ever-present whenever a question needs to be asked or answered…and they are the reason for me doing this challenge which I have set myself”.
Barbara took to the lake in a kayak for the first time in July of this year and says she hasn’t looked back since.
“For the first time in years I had the desire to participate in a physical activity and loved it even when I was at my most ‘crocked’! The next stage now is to see how I can do this and let someone else benefit from it,” she added.
A proud Kerry woman and the first woman to serve in the Band of the Western Command at Custume Barracks in Athlone (now called Defence Forces Band of the 2nd Brigade), Barbara had initially approached BTI in January of 2020 with the idea of staging a fundraising concert.
The concert, ‘Christmas in June’, will feature an orchestra of over 200, a choir of over 400 and four conductors, with all participants giving their time for free. It will take place on June 26th, 2022 at the WIT Arena in Waterford and will cost in the region of €5,000 to stage. That’s where this Saturday’s 32k paddle of Lough Ree comes in as Barbara aims to raise funds.
Barbara will set off from Lanesboro this Saturday morning and donations to this very worthy cause are welcome at www.ifundraise.ie/6523_christmas-in-june-for-brain-tumour. Direct donations can be made to ‘Christmas in June’: IEAIBK93226458851044