Darren Campbell

One Man's Journey Across America For The Irish Cancer Society

Fundraising for Irish Cancer Society
raised of €20,000 target
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We fund research and provide support to children and adults affected by cancer


My cousin Eugene was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Lymphoma (CLL) in 2014, this was a rare form of cancer for a man of his age. He fought this horrible disease with every ounce of energy he could summon from an ever-fading body. Throughout those long hard years, Eugene encountered great pain and suffering.  Eugene had to give up a job that he loved, and in the later years of the diagnosis, he also lost his eyesight and he had to spend long periods in hospital, which took him away from the comforts of his family home.

His wife Avril cared for him 24/7, taking him to and from hospital, which mostly consisted of late nights and early mornings when Eugene would take a turn for the worst. She spent long periods, living at the hospital by our cousin’s side. This meant that Avril had to give up work too, all while trying to get their youngest son Kevin through his final years of school.

Some of Eugene’s anguishes I will not reveal out of respect to his family and countless others across the country but what Eugene suffered was unimaginable to me. I would not wish it upon anyone but overall, no matter how bad the pain was for Eugene, my mother always said that he always had a smile on his face, and he was ever so sarcastically witty
just like he always was. Eugene did everything within his power to maintain a normal life for both himself and his family but unfortunately 
the cancer had different plans. 

Sadly, Eugene lost his long battle with this horrible disease in August 2018. When I received the dreaded news that Eugene had passed away, I was in the middle of thru hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT is an American National Scenic Trail that stretches 2,655 miles (4,270km) across California, Oregon and Washington. While preparing for the PCT, I had the notion of helping my cousin Eugene and his family in some sort of way from afar. Raising money for a charity was always at the forefront of my thought processes but unfortunately, I did not proceed with the idea for a number of reasons but mainly because I
simply did not want to be an extra burden on the family during that difficult time.

On the PCT, I met some of the most optimistic and freethinking people every step of the way. Every five to six days we would come across a remote community. The local people in these communities would give us shelter when we were wet and cold, they even fed us when we were hungry and provided many beers for thirsty souls. We were a bunch of complete strangers with funny accents and smelling like your local refuge tip all while looking like we just crawled out of the nearest storm water gutter and still these people welcomed us into their homes with open arms. This trail restored my faith in humanity. The trail changes you in profound ways, it challenged every part of me both emotionally and physically, and I thought about how much more I could do to support people trying to overcome some big challenges in their lives. The trail took 150 glorious days to complete, all while hiking this life
changing trail I realised that I was not giving enough back to society,
especially people in need. I had so much time to reflect on my life while on this trail. I started asking questions on how I was living life, and how much more I could do for people, and that is when another trail came across my path and doing it for a cause close to my heart began to be a reality.

On the 25th of May, 2020 I will set off on a journey to successfully thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). The CDT is another United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) between
Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas along the spine of the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states — New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. I plan to hike approximately 25-35 miles per day and have spent the past year planning the logistics with three other friends. The CDT by foot will take 5-6 months to complete, there will be roughly 500,000 feet of elevation gain, we will walk through every weather system known to man and we will for sure encounter wolves and bears. The trail will be tough, it will challenge me both physically and mentally every step of the way but the pain that I will encounter on this adventure will never amount to the pain that my cousin Eugene had to endure. 

I am doing this thru-hike for Eugene’s family, Avril, Kevin, Aoife and Matthew. The Irish Cancer Society helped them immensely and I want to give back in the best way I know how; to raise money for this society as I walk across a continent.

Therefore, this is the exact reason why I want to raise as much funds and awareness as I possibly can for a society that has given so much
to my family and countless others on the Emerald Isle.

I will document the whole journey so that you folks can follow along, I will upload my Vlog to my below social media platforms every 8-10 days depending on Wi-Fi and phone reception in towns.





The Irish CancerSociety (Daffodil Nurses)

The Irish Cancer Society is a community of survivors, families, patients, friends, nurses, doctors, scientists, professionals, supporters and volunteers.

For over 55 years as a community they have worked together for and on behalf of people affected by cancer.

The Irish Cancer Society is dedicated to preventing cancer, detecting it early and fighting it at every level.

In the small island of Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society estimates the following results on a yearly basis

  • 2,500 new cases of lung cancer
  • 3,100 new cases of breast cancer
  • 2,800 new cases of bowl cancer
  • 12,000 new cases of skin cancer
  • There are more than 40,000 cancer diagnoses each year
  • Everyday 150 people are diagnosed with cancer
  • Every three minutes someone is told they have

How can your fundraising help??

  • €20.00 ($23.00) covers the cost of providing support and information to a visitor at one of the Daffodil Centres.
  • €50.00 ($57.00) can help provide vital clinical equipment for a Night Nurse providing end of life care to a cancer patient in their home.
  • €60.00 ($68.00) covers the cost of a counselling session to help a person cope with a cancer diagnosis in their life.
  • €120.00 ($136.00) will cover the cost of five care kits for Volunteer Drivers bringing patients to their chemotherapy appointments in hospital.
  • €306.00 ($345.00) will cover the cost of one night of Night Nursing, providing end of life care to a patient in their own home.

Thank you so very much for your support to this fantastic cause. Your donation truly means so much to not only my family but the many others that require the assistance of the Irish Cancer Society. Every single cent donated is very much appreciated so please dig deep and support my efforts in supporting this great charity. Your support will help change lives.

Kind regards to each and every one of you.

Don’t forget to follow along as I raise awareness and venture into the unknown.

Darren Campbell

About the charity

We are a community of patients, survivors, volunteers, supporters, health and social care professionals and researchers. Together we are transforming the experiences and outcomes of people affected by cancer through our advocacy, support services and research.

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