Ann Marie McEvoy with Tomás Nally of Good2Talk (left) and Cllr Bill Collentine of Bill Collentine Heating and Plumbing, sponsor.

Ann Marie takes fundraising efforts to Collinstown Market

Ann Marie McEvoy completed a sponsored walk for Good2Talk in February, reaching her target of 200,000 steps in the four weeks, and continues her fundraising efforts at Collinstown Market on Sunday, March 5.

She has also planned a raffle at a social dancing evening in the Annebrook House Hotel, Mullingar on Sunday March 12.

This is Ann Marie’s fifth sponsored walk since January 2022 and she has taken more than a million steps for charity so far.

Last year, She raised funds for Breakthrough Cancer Research, based in Cork; The Loop, a community café for the elderly in Kilkenny; LARCC; and Meals on Wheels.

Although taking a short break until St Patrick’s Day, Annmarie will get active again later in March, and will raise funds for Parkinson’s disease support services next time.

She is extremely grateful to local businesses and members of the public for their generosity, especially while she organised her first ever car-boot-sale.

“People and shops have been very good, handing in donations of different things,” she said.

Her stall at Collinstown Market is sponsored by the Castle Varagh Hotel in Castlepollard, and she will have new and nearly new clothing, bric-a-brac, and Mother’s Day and Easter-themed hampers that she put together herself.

Ann Marie at the Castle Varagh Hotel with Siobhan Fretwell (management team) and Catherine McCann (general manager). Ann Marie thanked the hotel for their sponsorship and wished the team well: "It's just fabulous."

Helping Ann Marie on the stand are her daughter Lisa, son-in-law Stephen Sheil, and her grandsons Tadhg and Alfie, from Streamstown.

Tadhg, aged 9, and Alfie, 8, have even donated some of their own belongings to the stall.

The hamper goodies included Easter eggs and wine, and Annmarie’s daughter Lisa contributed some of her wedding wine glasses.

More hampers and a variety of spot prizes will be raffled at the social dancing evening in the Annebrook Hotel, “compliments of Bertie”.

Ann Marie will formally present Good2Talk with a cheque at the event.

Good2Talk is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a wide range of mental health supports on a “pay what you can” basis. Annmarie feels it’s vital for organisations like it to receive more funding.

“A lot of people are living through difficult times and cannot cope. It’s not just young people now; it’s middle-aged people too,” she said.

Tomás Nally, acting chairman of Good2Talk, said: “We’re delighted to be associated with Ann Marie. She does huge work around the town for different charities, and we’re delighted that she picked Good2Talk. We’re coming up to our 10-year anniversary and things are harder than ever… but the likes of Ann Marie keeps things tipping along. So we’re delighted; she’s an inspiration.”

A cancer survivor who was diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s two years ago, Ann Marie loves to “give back”. She worked for the HSE for many years, till she retired due to illness, and now focuses her energy on fundraising.

Ann Marie allows herself a month to complete each of her walking challenges. She does 10,000 steps every morning and heads out again in the afternoosn to clock up another 2-3,000.

Going by herself without headphones or any other distractions, Ann Marie finds it therapeutic. “Walking is absolutely brilliant for me and I feel so much better after it. You’re out; your mind is clear; you get out there. If you get tired you can stop and have a coffee.”

Annmarie’s typical route takes in the canal line in the morning, and then the ring road out by the hospital in the evening. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, walking has had a positive effect on her health. “I started out with a tremor in my arm and it’s gone, and I’m only on one medication a day,” says Ann Marie. “You have to be positive with Parkinson’s. I would never think about it except when I’m at an appointment with the neurologist.

“You can live a very good life if you get your diagnosis and medication in time.”

One of Ann Marie’s sponsors, Cllr Bill Collentine of Bill Collentine Heating and Plumbing Ltd, praised her commitment to local causes. “She’s donating to a group that’s very important in our society, a community group that’s helping other people. And it only can help other people if it gets the funds like Ann Marie goes out there and raises.

“So we’ll have to give Ann Marie full credit for what she’s doing and it’s more people like this we need. And Ann Marie has been doing other charity work as well, so she’s well-known for her good work in the community. It’s more people that we need to help out in our society, and we can see that makes a difference.”

Annmarie’s raffle for Good2Talk takes place in the Annebrook Hotel at their social dancing evening on Sunday March 12.