Man runs 3,650km in a year to raise funds for hospital caring for his son

Joe Hammel ran 10km a day, says he hopes to inspire others to challenge themselves

 Joe Hammel from Bettystown, Co Meath  with his son Joseph. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson

Joe Hammel from Bettystown, Co Meath with his son Joseph. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson

 

A man who on Wednesday completed a challenge to run 3,650 kms over 365 days, all to raise funds for the hospital caring for his son, said he got through it “one day at a time.”

Since July 1st last year, Joe Hammel has run 10km every day.

He wanted to give back to everyone who has cared for his son Joseph (9) since his cancer diagnosis in 2019.

Mr Hammel, from Bettystown, Co Meath said, “I just cannot believe I have made it.”

“I’m 47 years old and to run 10km every day for a year is something I’m proud to have achieved and I hope it will inspire others to do things they think may be beyond them.”

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

It was the size of a melon and needed treatment to shrink it before surgery to remove it.

“Our son was under the care of one of the best paediatric 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 gave our son.

“Joseph will continue to be a patient of Our Lady’s Hospital until he is a young adult.

“However, because of the care and treatment he has received in Crumlin [hospital], we are hopeful he will grow to live as much as a normal life as we could hope and pray for.”

Joseph is going into fourth class and Mr Hammel says doctors are very happy with him.

“The funds raised will go to the Children’s Cancer/Oncology unit who will decide where the money will be spent.

“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.”

Mr Hammel said that by day 14 or his efforts, “I thought I would not make it to day 20 but I just learned to adapt and take it one day at a time”

“I have raised over 41k now and thinking of the unbelievable work Crumlin have done for our family, just kept me going and I was going to stop at nothing to get through the challenge.”

He said he will be sad it is coming to an end “because I thrived on the challenge and I learned so much on a personal level. As an introvert this challenge took me way beyond my comfort zone and I had to put myself out there to try and raise as much as possible.”

“It was very uncomfortable and unnerving to bring such exposure to myself and commit to such a gruelling year long challenge. I became a lot more confident and comfortable in communication with people even though the exposure made me more vulnerable.”

He will now take a running break but said, “I be forever grateful to everyone who supported me. I have a very small social media presence and to raise over 41k for me has been overwhelming.”

His employer, Mercer, sponsored the 8 pairs of runners he has gone through and he thanked everyone who supported and encouraged him every day and “I especially want to thank all who donated to this wonderful hospital.”