KC Sports has designed two new commemorative jerseys for Saturday. Pictured at the launch of the jerseys were, from left, Trevor Gonoud, Jade Wallace, Dawn Wallace, Nicola Judge, Angela Wallace (Lee’s mother), Tom Judge (Imelda’s husband), Jenny Judge and Xenia Wallace.

St Brigid’s host charity matches to celebrate lives of Lee and Imelda

St Brigid’s Hurling Club, Rochfortbridge, are hosting charity hurling and camogie matches next weekend to celebrate the lives of two much loved club members who passed way too soon.

The club’s senior hurling team will take on their counterparts from Borrisoleigh in Tipperary and the senior camogie team are playing St Sinchills Camogie Club from Offaly on a special day to celebrate the lives and honour the memories of the late Lee Wallace and Imelda Judge.

Lee passed away in December 2019 from a rare bone sarcoma. His brave battle against the disease and untimely passing touched thousands of people across the country through the Help Lee Beat Cancer online campaign, which raised more than €225,000.

Mother of five Imelda died in April 2017 after her own cancer battle, which she bore with great dignity and bravery. A huge supporter of St Brigid’s, Imelda was a regular presence on sidelines cheering on her daughters Claire, Nicola and Jenny when they played.

Marion O’Riordan, one of the main organisers of the day, which will end with an evening of fun and entertainment in Gonoud’s Bar, Tyrrellspass, says everyone involved with the club is looking forward to celebrating the lives of two people who were integral parts of the community.

“It will be a real celebration of Lee and Imelda’s lives. The two of them handled their illnesses with such dignity and bravery. They were unreal. Both their families are really involved in the GAA.”

Instead of having an entrance fee at the event, which starts at noon, the organisers will be handing around a donations bucket.

KC Sports have designed two commemorative for the event, which will have Lee’s name on one sleeve and Imelda’s on the other. The first jersey is an eye-catching half St Brigid’s;/half St Mary’s design, the two clubs that Lee played for; while the second is a commemorative St Brigid’s jersey.

Marion thanked KC Sports for all their work in designing the jerseys, which will be on sale for €40 for children’s sizes and €50 for adults.

She also said that KC Sports are able to ship jerseys to the North Pole in time for Christmas deliveries.

All funds raised will be donated to the Irish Cancer Society and Sarcoma Cancer Ireland, the new charity that Lee’s family have helped establish.

New charity

In a statement released this week, the Wallace family explained why they got involved with the foundation of Sarcoma Cancer Ireland.

There was extremely limited information available to Lee here in Ireland when he received his Sarcoma diagnosis in 2018. We were therefore hugely motivated to get involved with this charity, to help others facing a similar diagnosis and treatment pathway. In brief, some of the primary objectives of ‘Sarcoma Cancer Ireland’ is to raise awareness; advocate for patients and to provide information and financial support to patients and their families.”

Lee’s family would like to thank everyone who contributed their time, efforts and money to the Help Lee Beat Cancer campaign, notably, the GAA clubs around Westmeath and even further afield played a huge role in this.

The fundraising campaign set up for Lee in 2019 raised a staggering amount of money, more than he or they could have ever imagined or wished for. While it was intended for Lee to travel abroad to receive treatment, this was unfortunately not an option as his cancer progressed.

However, the money raised helped Lee to get the best possible care during his illness. Lee had the opportunity to try new alternative medicines. The money also financed a purpose-built log cabin for Lee, which enabled him to remain living at home, cared for and surrounded by his family and friends. This was invaluable to Lee and created many special memories.

Since Lee’s passing, large donations from the money raised have been given towards the founding of the Sarcoma Cancer Ireland charity. A large donation was also given to LARCC Cancer Support Centre.

We will also make a donation to the Midlands Hospice which will be built in Tullamore in the near future.