In a challenge fit for an Olympian, Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe are urging the people of Ireland to go for purple and undertake a 65 Roses Challenge for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s 65 Roses Day on Friday April 8.
The husband-and-wife team are asking people to take up any 65-themed challenge – from walking 65,000 steps, to running 6.5K, or cycling 65K, the sky is the limit. Full details on the 65 Roses Challenge, or to donate, can be found at www.65Roses.ie.
For the first time in three years, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s annual fundraising appeal will once again see the country come up roses for 65 Roses Day. In a show of flower power, volunteers will be out in force selling purple rose pins in towns and villages the length and breadth of the country, as well as in shopping centres and Dunnes Stores outlets.
Getting its name from the way in which children often first say the words “cystic fibrosis”, 65 Roses Day has a very special place in the hearts of Irish people. Ireland has the highest incidence of cystic fibrosis per capita in the world among its indigenous population, with more than 1,400 people living with the condition. Ireland also has some of the most severe forms of the disease.
With a fundraising target of €350,000, funds raised on 65 Roses Day go to provide a range of much-needed supports for people with cystic fibrosis. These include PPE, e-bikes and other exercise equipment, counselling sessions, and grants for people undergoing a transplant, fertility assessment or who have recently been bereaved. Funds also go to support cystic fibrosis research and the building of new CF hospital facilities and the funding of specialist CF staff.
For Olympian turned film-maker, Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe, having a good friend with cystic fibrosis has given him a real insight into life with the condition:
“Cystic fibrosis is a cause very close to my heart as, unfortunately, one of my good friends has it. He has always inspired me and so I wanted to support him and the cause by getting involved. I’ve seen first-hand how CF places a huge additional load on people, whether its medications, digestive enzymes, chest clearance, or exercise, they have to be extra careful and do so much to look after themselves. The pandemic means the additional precautions people with CF have had to undertake to stay safe will likely continue for them for some time to come.
“The great thing about 65 Roses Day is that everyone can get involved, young and old, sporty and not-so-sporty. No matter who you are, you can do something to challenge yourself. I will certainly be doing my own challenge to mark the day. The more funding that Cystic Fibrosis Ireland receives, the more it can do to support people with cystic fibrosis.”
For modern pentathlete and triple Olympian, Natalya Coyle, 65 Roses Day may present us with one challenge that day, but for people with CF, every day is a challenge:
“For people living with cystic fibrosis, life is a constant challenge having to plan around their condition to keep on top of things and try to stay healthy. While we have all had to live in varying forms of isolation over the past two years, what people often don’t realise is that people with CF have lived all their lives in isolation from each other for fear of cross-infection. We all need connection, but for people with CF, it’s always at a remove, as they can’t be in the same room together. I do think that’s very tough mentally to have to live with on top of everything else.
“That’s why I’m doing a 65 Roses Challenge and encouraging others to do the same. The great thing about it is that it is so open – you can play to your activity levels or your passions and do whatever you want to do to challenge yourself. You can go walking, running, swimming or cycling, but you can get really inventive too – from 65 lunges, to running up and down the stairs 65 times. Do whatever will make the day special for you.”
Please support Cystic Fibrosis Ireland on 65 Roses Day, Friday 8th April, by taking part in a 65 Roses Challenge or donating online at 65Roses.ie.
If you’d like to volunteer to help sell purple roses on 65 Roses Day in your workplace or local shopping centre, please contact Brendán on 01 4962433 or email email@example.com