Walking 120km home for Christmas in aid of mental health

Maria Kelly: we all need to make an effort to be more understanding and supportive

As of Wednesday, Maria Kelly’s fundraising page raised over €3,300.

A young Irish woman who returned to Ireland on Wednesday for Christmas has decided to take an unusual route home, in a bid to raise funds for mental health services.

Maria Kelly (25) arrived at Dublin airport on a flight from Boston at 8.30am and immediately set off to her home in Clara, Co Offaly, on foot, a journey of 120kms. She hopes to be home by Friday evening.

Having spent more than a year in the US on a J1 visa, Ms Kelly decided she wanted to do something different to mark her homecoming and decided to try and raise funds for Jigsaw Ireland, which deals with young people’s mental health through research, engagement and services.

Her Everydayhero fundraising page has already raised over €3,300.

Ms Kelly setting out from Dublin Airport Wednesday morning.

Speaking during a brief break in her walk this morning Ms Kelly said: “So many people suffer in silence and often in fear. We all need to make a concerted effort to be more understanding, kinder, supportive and more loving to each other”.

Ms Kelly hopes to join An Garda Síochána in the New Year.

She is being supported on the walk by family and friends.

Justin McDermott of Jigsaw Offaly said what Ms Kelly was planning to do was a “huge challenge and we wish her the best of luck”.