You may have heard that Donal Kelly is running 100km to raise funds for the work of Emily’s Voice. What you won’t have heard is that his employer has thrown major support behind his efforts by agreeing to match funds raised, dollar for dollar, up to his new target of $5000.
Donal is in full training mode for the Goldcoast 100 Supermarathon on June 11, and the extra incentive has put some spring in his step, some more momentum behind the rigorous training regime. It means that, if he reaches $5000 in donations, his employer will chip in $5000 towards the cause. That’s $10,000 to change culture for vulnerable women and babies.
Why is Donal doing this, you ask?
It was on a recent trip back to his home country Ireland that he was struck with the need to “do something”. He had been visiting his birth grandparents and father.
“My mum fell pregnant outside of marriage, not even in a relationship really, and it was seen as an embarrassment, a disgrace. She was sent away to a Catholic college and I’ve learnt that she didn’t get much support from friends and family, she was pretty much ex-communicated,” he explains.
“That’s when I was given up for adoption.”
While he has since made contact with grandparents and father, his birth mother hasn’t mustered the confidence for that meeting just yet.
“I don’t hold anything against her,” Donal says.
“I think she was 17 when she fell pregnant and there were so many people telling her what to do. I don’t think there was much choice for her in the situation. It’s had a lasting effect on her, the whole ordeal, and it took a long time for family to bind together again.”
But Donal was fortunate. He was adopted into a loving family that gave him all the love he needed, and is today happily married. When he met his wife Olivia, she was going through a strangely similar situation to Donal’s mum; pregnant at a young age. The difference was that she had support. That child, Reegan, is now five, and Donal and Olivia have added two more children to the nest: Gavin, 2, and Aurora, 1.
Donal’s own birth story, and then Olivia’s experience too, have given him a soft heart for women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.
“After the trip to Ireland, when I got home I started thinking, if I can do anything to help this not to happen to other people, so that young mums have the support they need, I’ll do it,” he says.
Donal’s Go Fund Me crowdfunding campaign has reached $2205. With less than four weeks until the big day, he is hopeful that the final sprint of the fundraising campaign will help him reach that $5000 target (doubled thanks to his generous employer!), and keep his feet pounding every last metre of the 100km run. We’re cheering you on, Donal!
Please show your support for Donal by sponsoring his run. CLICK HERE to donate via Go Fund Me.