10km a day for a year as Meath man raises funds for children’s cancer unit

A Meath man who ran 3,650 km in 365 days, all to raise money for the hospital taking care of his son, said he got through it “day by day”.

Since July 1 last year, Joe Hammel has been running 10 km every day. He wanted to give something back to everyone who has cared for his son Joseph (9), since his cancer diagnosis in 2019.

Joe, from Bettystown, Co. Meath said, “I just can’t believe I made it.”

“I’m 47 years old and running 10k every day for a year is something I’m proud of, and I hope it will inspire others to do things they think are going too far.”

Tumor

He said the day he and his wife Nicole were told that Joseph had a large tumor between his heart and lung, “the darkest time of our lives was and will undoubtedly remain.”

It was the size of a melon and had to be treated to shrink it before surgery to remove it.

“Our son was under the care of one of the best pediatric oncology teams in Europe under the guidance and direction of Dr. Cormac Owens. We owe so much to the remarkable talent and care he and his team have given to our son.”

Joe Hammel, his son Joseph and wife Nicole are pictured along with friends and family who helped Joe complete his final 10K. Photo: Ciara Wilkinson.

“Joseph will remain a patient at Our Lady Hospital until he is a young adult.”

“But because of the care and treatment he has received at Crumlin (hospital), we hope he will grow into a normal life as we could have hoped and prayed for.”

Joseph goes to fourth grade and Joe says the doctors are very happy with him.

Running Challenge

Last year, his father decided to take up the running challenge. “We will never be able to repay the hospital and its extraordinary staff for all they have done for us, but we hope the money raised will help children like Joseph on their journey back to full health,” he said. The money raised goes to the Pediatric Cancer/Oncology Department, which decides where the money is spent.

Joe said on day 14 of his efforts, “I thought I wouldn’t make it to day 20, but I’ve learned to adapt and take it day by day”.

“I have now raised over $41,000 and thinking about the incredible work Crumlin has done for our family has kept me going and I would stop at nothing to take on the challenge.”

He said he will be sad to see it come to an end “because I liked the challenge and learned so much on a personal level. As an introvert, this challenge took me way out of my comfort zone and I had to put myself out there to try educate as much as possible.”

He will now be taking a running break but said: “I am eternally grateful to everyone who has supported me. I have a very small social media presence and it has been overwhelming raising over 41k for me.”

His employer, Mercer, sponsored the eight pairs of runners he went through and thanked everyone who supported and encouraged him every day and “I especially want to thank everyone who has donated to this wonderful hospital.”

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