A CASTLEDERG man who hit a phenomanal fundraising milestone for Cystic Fibrosis has said it is a big dream come true.
Liam McHugh from Spamount, Castlederg has been fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust for the past 28 years, and this week, he hit his exceptional target of £250,000.
Liam began fundraising after his daughter Rachel was diagnosed with the condition when she was just six weeks old.
For his first fundraising event, Liam took part in the Belfast Marathon in 1992 with his brother late John, and raised £3,5000 and he has continued fundraising since then.
He has completed dozens of marathons including New York, Dublin, London and Belfast.
Speaking to the Herald, he said, “I have been doing this since Rachel was born, but I never expected that I would ever reach this amount of money.
“When I did the first fundraiser, I thought it would be a one off but I caught the running bug and I started to take it more seriously.
“When Rachel was born we knew nothing about Cycstic Fibrosis and it was hard to take when she was diagnoised, but we have been very lucky and she is flying now.”
“It is fantastic and I am very happy that other families have benefited from my fundraising efforts.
“Last week, I posted on Facebook saying I was close to the quarter a million and since that more people have donated so the number continues to rise.”
Hitting the target of a quarter of a million pound came at an ideal time for Liam who had planned to run in the London Marathon which was cancelled due to Covid-19.
Instead, he decided to run a marathon around Spamount and completed it last Sunday.
He ran a 0.94 mile loop around the area 28 times which works out at 26.32 miles – slightly over the 26.2 miles for a traditional marathon.
Banners were hung, the route was mapped out and the local community cheered and supported Liam as he ran around his townland with pride in front of the people who have been so supportive of his fundraising campaign.
Liam said, “When the London marathon was cancelled, I thought I would make history and run the first ever marathon in our wee village of Spamount.
“It has been overwhelming.
“The local community has always supported me 100 per cent.
“The whole area – Newtownstewart, Strabane, Omagh – all around the county people have been brilliant but I honestly cannot praise the Castlederg community enough.
“They always support me every year and this is a big one for me.
“I appreciate every single donation and bit of support that I received throughout the years.
“This really is a dream come true for me,” concluded Liam.
To donate to Liam’s fundraising drive, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/liam-mc-hugh1