Kilkenny troops in Lebanon run for Solas

Private Tommy Carew leads cancer run with James Stephens Barracks colleagues

Brian Keyes


Brian Keyes


The 2016 Solas Cancer Support Centre “Run and Walk for Life” may have taken place on Sunday last, but the fundraising, for this year has taken on a truly International feel.

Over one hundred Irish Defence Force members from James Stephens Barracks deployed in South Lebannon in Kilkenny ran on Friday October 14 in aid of the Solas Cancer Support Centre. The Defence Force staff members are part of the deployed 53rd Infantry Group, #53InfGp, to South Lebanon under the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL), looking after peacekeeping in the region.
The Irish Defence Forces currently have 186 personnel serving with the 53rd Infantry Group who are drawn from the 1 Bde, 2 Bde, DFTC, Air Corps and Naval Service. Together with a contingent from Finland and Estonian, they form 116 FINIRISHBATT based at UNP 2-45 in UNIFIL Sector West. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Ryan this tour of duty began in May and will end in November.
Commenting from South Lebanon Lt Col Stephen Ryan, “Private Tommy Carew must be commended for his enthusiasm and initiative in organising the run. Events like this are a great distraction from overseas life and gives soldiers perspective of the great work being done at home. We commend Solas Cancer Support Centre for the excellent work they do.”
Private Tommy Carew, from Ferrybank in Kilkenny, contacted RFL Committee member Lena Murphy, Beat, during the summer. Tommy’s Aunty was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, over two years ago, and availed of the Solas Cancer Support Centre services. A good recovery was made thanks, in part, to the assistance provided at the Centre.
“I have been overwhelmed by the interest from all my colleagues in the run,” stated Private Tommy Carew, “The Solas Cancer Support Centre has given so much to my family and I hope our efforts can give much needed assistance to other families in South East. Also thanks to Lena and all at the RFL for their support throughout."
Having made contact with Lena Murphy the RFL Committee agreed, unanimously, that if logistically possible a “Run for Life in South Lebanon” would be an ideal way to spread the message further. No time was wasted in sending t-shirts out to the base and, thanks to Tommy and Lieutenant Kevin Lanigan, clearance was given for a run to take place on Friday .
The run itself was centred round the main based, situated in South Lebanon, east of a small village called At Tiri. All of the Defence Force members who competed in the “Run for Life in South Lebanon” were delighted to be taking part and helping to raise awareness of the Solas Cancer Support Centres services.
Michael Garland, Chair of the 2017 “Run and Walk for Life” commented, “This was a great initiative from Private Tommy Carew and Lena Murphy, who works with our media sponsor Beat, to put this project together. To see the photographs of so many of our Defence Forces taking time out from their peacekeeping duties to “Run for Life” was just amazing. It is something that we can perhaps build on in future years. This in turn will help the Solas Cancer Support Centre broaden the communication network of the very important work and services provided here in Waterford City and now also in Dungarvan.”