Donal Kelly is using his thrill-seeking tendencies to uphold a cause very close to his heart. In June he will run the Goldcoast 100 Supermarathon, raising funds through sponsorship for the work of Emily’s Voice.
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 daredevil streak (he worked as a rodeo clown before he married Olivia!) will come in handy when he runs the Goldcoast 100km ultra marathon on June 11. He’s busy training, getting some kilometres into his legs, and says if he can do it in under 14 hours, he’ll be a happy man.
“Just to say I’ve completed it and raised money for Emily’s Voice will be ample reward!”
Please show your support for Donal by sponsoring his run. CLICK HERE to donate via Go Fund Me.