Not wishing to leave anybody out, especially younger sisters and brothers we will be making a big fuss about our Kids Splash ‘n’ Dash. This is just what it says, a little splash for up to 8 year olds into the chilly water of The Cove in Greystones and then a dash up the same exit carpet and over the same finish line as the other athletes and collect a finishers medal. We will collect a charity donation of €5 (or as much as you can donate) per athlete entering the splash and dash and support the LauraLynn children’s hospice.
The story of LauraLynn is equally sad and inspiring.
In the words of Jane McKenna:
“Laura, the younger of the two sisters aged four, died very quickly and peacefully, after her final surgery to repair a hole in her heart having previously spent seven months of the first year of life in Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin and gone through three previous surgeries. She was always a very happy, funny, beautiful girl. A real Shirley Temple with her mass of curls, she always had a smile and made us all laugh so much – she was so cute and so brave.
On the day of her surgery, Lynn aged 13 at the time and never sick in her life, was diagnosed with leukaemia. Laura sadly died the following day never having woken up and Lynn was already a patient in Oncology at Our Lady’s Hospital. After eight months of chemo etc., she was in remission for about five months, before she re-relapsed. The treatment then was heading towards a Bone marrow transplant and pretty tough at that. Shortly before the transplant was due to take place, unfortunately Lynn relapsed, and there was nothing else that cold be done. She had courage and acceptance beyond her tender years of 15 and we had a wonderful three weeks to her death. She was physically able to do a lot in the first two weeks and family and friends planned many wonderful things for us, including a trip to Manchester to see Westlife and a wonderful trip to Dromoland Castle for her ‘Make a Wish’.
In her last week she wrote letters to all who had been so wonderful to her, including her doctors; saw friends; said her ‘goodbyes’; arranged her funeral and wrote her will. When she was too weak to write, I did it for her, but she dictated. I had closeness with her that I might never otherwise have had and we shared some beautiful, special moments in those last weeks. She wrote the beautiful ‘Lynn’s Dreams’ poem just twelve days before she died. The two angels she speaks about are her darling beloved little sister, Laura, and her ‘cousin’ not blood related, but the daughter of my best friend Lorraine, who had lost her life to leukaemia on her 22nd birthday, just ten weeks after our darling Laura. Although Lynn was nine years younger than Lorraine, she adored her and was very close to her.
How she coped with her illness, her adored sister’s sad death and her impending death is an inspiration to us – she wished it could be different, but accepted it with such dignity, aged just 15. She lived every minute of those weeks to the full, which is how we should all live our lives. She truly taught us how to live and how to die.
Lynn’s greatest wish was to die peacefully at home. While she was grateful to all at Our Lady’s for all they did for her and Laura, she did not want to die there. We had a limited amount of support form an adult hospice at the end of Lynn’s life but thankfully she had a very peaceful journey to the end and our own wonderful GP made sure he controlled the pain she did have on the last day of her life.”
In accordance with the wishes of Lynn not to die in hospital, the LauraLynn children’s hospice was built for all the children Lynn could help. While its the last place that some children will live, the LauraLynn hospice is a happy place full of help and all the facilities to support the sick children who visit but more importantly a happy place for their families.
A young Daniel who left us aged only 15 months old
Wicklow Triathlon Club Juniors have hosted a charity Splash and Dash event every year since the Junior Beast of the East race began. What is different this year is that two of our own junior members will organise the event, children doing something special for other children. Leah Elliott (TY) and Garret Keogh (3rd YR) are appealing to anybody under eight years of age to join us in helping LauraLynn to raise funds, their only source of income to help these sick children and their families.
What is a Splash and Dash?
The splash and dash is not a triathlon so bikes won’t be needed. Mum’s and Dad’s are quite often very involved in these events as pre race nerves can affect the best of athletes. On that basis, it may be prudent to think of the involved parent when packing race clothes and a full change of warm dry clothes for afterwards!
Registration: will be on Friday 21st September @ Shoreline Greystones 18:00-19:00 and also on the morning of the event @ Greystones Sailing Club.
Race: The race will immediately precede the first Triathlon race wave. It is essential to ensure that all competitors are registered before 12:30 at Greystones Sailing Club and are ready to start by 13:00 sharp at “The Cove” behind the old La Touche Hotel
We would suggest:
- Splash and dash athletes wear swim suits/togs & a tee shirt (torso must be covered!)
- Wet suits may be worn but are not required
- Swim hats and goggles are not required but are allowed, there is no swimming involved!
- An old pair of runners, crocks or sandals may be worn (recommended) but not required.
- A parent who is willing and capable of accompanying the athlete through the entire course
- A full warm and dry change of clothes is ready for the finish
- Err on the safe side with layers, gloves or a hat just to be safe
Training and mental preparation are very important in this sport so intensive pre-race discussion with parents, siblings and classmates is to be strongly encouraged. Everybody under 8 years of age is welcome to enter the splash and dash and it is not necessary to have a connection to an other Junior Beast of the East competitor. Please tell anybody you think might like to enter and remember that every single penny we collect in entries will be given to the LauraLynn children’s hospice, a very worthy cause in our opinion.