By Ewelina Szybinska
Second-Year nursing students have held an annual fundraising drive that has raised more than €2,000 for Galway Simon community.
General Nursing students attended a guest lecture given by Amy Lavelle and Brian Hickey of the Galway Simon Community, which informed the students about the reality of homelessness in Ireland and how it impacts individuals.
It inspired the students to give the proceeds to Galway Simon Community.
Catherine Meagher, lecturer at the NUI Galway School of Nursing and Midwifery, said: “Our student nurses got to hear first-hand about the impact the pandemic had on fundraising opportunities and the growing number of people in need of support services offered by the Galway Simon Community. They wanted to do something to help.”
All student nurses continue to study online. Despite that, they have successfully managed to organize a fundraiser during the pandemic.
“Usually, the fundraising is done by shaking buckets on Shop Street during the Christmas shopping period, but with Covid restrictions, this year we decided to organise it as a virtual event” said second year General Nursing class representative, Ciarán Mac an tSaoir.
“As future nurses we’ll be caring for patients who are homeless through our degrees and future careers. We not only gained knowledge, but an understanding that we can always do something to help alleviate hardships for others” added Mac an tSaoir.
The 500k walking, running, and cycling challenge took place remotely due to level five restrictions. All students were involved in walking, running, and jogging within their five kilometres.
The fundraiser was also an opportunity for students to reconnect with their fellow classmates and exercise for a good cause.
Hannah O’Donnell, Second Year general nursing class representative said, “It was so much fun, and it felt so good to do something as a class for the people in the Galway community. It was also nice to be able to connect with each other.”
“Doing the fundraiser was so nice during lockdown as it gave us all a great excuse to get out and get some exercise. It was also so nice to be able to help other people at a time when we were all struggling” said second year nursing student, Eilís Cahill who also participated in the fundraiser.
The charity expressed their gratitude for the wonderful initiative from NUI Galway General Nursing students.
Amy Lavelle from the Galway Simon Community, said “Their motivation to raise funds in support of those facing homelessness in these difficult times was truly inspiring and their compassion will go a long way in their future careers.
We are deeply grateful to have been the chosen charity for this wonderful initiative and we can’t thank the students and lecturer Catherine Meagher enough for all that they did to make it possible.”