17 Aug 2022

Karen takes up the challenge for cancer

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A Graignamanagh woman is embarking on her seventh fundraising trek to raise money for cancer research.

A Graignamanagh woman is embarking on her seventh fundraising trek to raise money for cancer research.

Karen Boland has been involved with the Irish Cancer Society’s fun Trek4Life since her father Joe was diagnosed with lung cancer.

In April 2005 Joe died and Karen decided to focus her energies on fundraising and raising awareness of the need for cancer research in memory of her father.

Karen’s first trek was in Turkey in 2006 and since then she has trekked in Alicante, Budapest, Slovenia, Tuscany, the Camino and The Great Wall of China for the Irish Cancer Society.

“Everyone that does the Irish Cancer Society treks are doing it for a personal reason, many of us have lost someone close to us from cancer and that’s what drives us to fundraise,” she said.

Karen has been bitten by the fundraising bug and has raised over €35,000 since 2006.

In 2008 she set up the annual Joe Boland Memorial Walk along the banks of the River Barrow.

“When my father, Joe passed away from lung cancer in 2005 and I decided when he was sick to do something to fundraise. I was very close to my Dad and it was something positive I could do,” she said.

The local annual walk has also been a huge success with people coming out in force to make the annual pilgrimage from Graignamanagh to St Mullins in memory of Joe Boland.

“The first walk raised €3,290 in sponsorship for The Irish Cancer Society so I decided to make it an annual event,” she said.

“He was a brilliant father and a best friend too, and we all miss him so much. He was a gentle and kind person and everyone who knew him, has fond memories of him. “Although he was quiet and shy, he enjoyed the craic with his friends and was very close to his family. He really loved music and often played the mouth organ in his local pub. He was such a lovely, genuine person and will never be forgotten by any of us.

“The memorial walk is a great way to keep his memory alive and to maybe help towards finding a cure for this awful disease,” she added.

Meanwhile the Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, Professor John Fitzpatrick congratulated Karen for her fundraising efforts to date.

“Taking on a trek for the Irish Cancer Society is not only a massive personal challenge but it is a chance for

the community to join us in the fight against cancer. “Trek4Life is a fantastic opportunity to take part in a unique experience while raising vital funds for cancer research. Because of cancer research into better treatments more and more of those diagnosed with cancer will be restored to full health and that is thanks to funding from programmes such as Trek4Life,” he said.

The Irish Cancer Society has contributed more than €30 million to cancer research since 1963 and is the largest voluntary body funding cancer research in Ireland. Over the past 30 years, more than 650 important research findings have been discovered which has led to major advances in cancer research.

For further information on Trek4Life visit

The Joe Boland Memorial Walk takes place on July 19.

Registration is between 12.30 and 1pm at Murray’s Bar on the Main Street in Graignamanagh. Registration is €20.

For more information on the Joe Boland walk contact 059 - 9724602

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