Friends who started hiking during the pandemic climb Kilimanjaro

A group of friends who discovered their passion for hiking during the pandemic have raised more than €11,000 for charities close to their hearts.

The 10 friends from across Ireland formed a strong bond during Covid-19 as they pursued hiking as a way to deal with the pandemic.

In August, the group joined forces to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, collectively raising €11,500 for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association, the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) and Save Elders Tanzania.

Daithí Horan, from Athy, Co Kildare, said the group “agreed” that IKA would benefit from the self-funded climb due to a personal connection to the charity.

Mr Horan said: “My mum, Michelle, and [fellow climber]Veronica Horan’s father, Ben Horan, who lives in Ferns, both have kidney failure and are on dialysis.

“We are deeply grateful for the support our parents have received from the Irish Kidney Association who are doing amazing work advocating for kidney patients and promoting the organ donor card.”

Maedbh Hurst, from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, was raising funds in honor of her grandmother, Betty O’Hare, who died of motor neuron disease. Ms Hurst also shares a home in Dublin with another climber, Doireann Langan, from Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Colleen Nolan from Drinagh, Co. Wexford contacted a Tanzanian friend for referrals for local charities and Save Elders Tanzania was suggested as a deserving cause of support.

Fellow climbers Roisin Nolan of Furbo, Co Galway and Joanne Langton of Stradbally, Co Laois said “a happy accident” brought them together as a group.

As friends, all from different professional backgrounds including accounting and pharmacy, hiking during the pandemic had helped strengthen their friendships.

Ciarán O’Sullivan of Castletownbere, Co Cork went to school with other Corkonians, Ruairi Mensink of Allihies and Seamus Lyons of Eyeries.

He said: “Through networking and our college connections, we are now 10 who have climbed Kilimanjaro together and made lifelong friends.

“It was a phenomenal experience and an unforgettable personal achievement for each and every one of us.

“It took us seven days and six nights to finish.” Friends who started hiking during the pandemic climb Kilimanjaro

Fry Electronics Team

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