Life

Debra Ireland's Kerry challenge offers chance to help people with rare skin condition

Eamon O’Kane takes part in Debra Ireland’s Kerry Challenge. This year the three-day trek on the Dingle Peninsula takes place from May 22-24. Picture by Richard Sheehy Photography

A CHARITY has introduced social climbing with a difference – a chance to take part in a Kerry adventure where making new friends will help raise vital funds for people with the butterfly skin disease EB (epidermolysis bullosa).

Debra Ireland's Kerry Challenge involves three days of trekking through the beautiful Dingle Peninsula (20km per day) followed by nights of craic in local pubs while staying in a four-star hotel. The adventure runs from May 22-24 and everyone from first-time ramblers to seasoned hikers can take part.

“It is a fantastic way to meet new people, make new friends and bring people together,” said Susan Woodcock, Debra's community and groups manager. “We welcome singles, couples, work colleagues, seniors and friends.”

Debra Ireland supports people with EB (epidermolysis bullosa), also known as butterfly skin, throughout Ireland. This rare and painful genetic condition causes the skin, both inside and out, to blister and wound at the slightest touch.

For Eamon O'Kane from Limerick the Debra event is a family affair: “My wife, three sons and my sister-in-law have all taken part and we meet new people every year. Everyone walks at a different pace so you've great opportunities to chat along the way.”

Eamon and fellow Limerick walkers Joe Carrig, Pat Toomey and Mike Histon have done the challenge for the past 14 years and raised over €150,000 for Debra.

The event costs €300 per person, which includes two nights' accommodation in the Dingle Skelligs Hotel, all meals and snacks, transport to and from the route each day and on-site physiotherapy.

Participants are asked to raise a further €350 for the charity, which provides day-to-day support services for those living with EB across the island and funds research.

"All proceeds go towards helping people living with EB. It is a great way to help while enjoying a fantastic weekend making new friends and taking in the beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way," said Susan.

:: To register or find out more visit debraireland.org or call 00353 1412 6924.

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