John Dempsey

Round Ireland by Sea Kayak

Fundraising for Anam Cara Parental & Sibling Bereavement Support
raised of €5,000 target
by 425 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
In memory of Laura Dempsey
We provide a lifeline to bereaved parents and families


In June 2017, my youngest daughter Laura died in a drowning incident in Crete. She was 15 years old at the time and was growing up to be a beautiful, caring, young woman.

It is difficult to describe a parent’s grief: it is the exact opposite of the joy of a new born baby. It is not something you get over; it is something you slowly learn to live with. From the initial state of shock and despair, you need to find a way to survive, to bear the unbearable pain, and eventually, hopefully, to find some beauty and joy in life.

In the difficult weeks, months and years that followed Laura's death, my wife Nicky and I attended meetings hosted by Anam Cara, a charity that provides support for bereaved parents. These meetings provided us with support and hope when we needed it most. The stories of other bereaved parents encouraged us to keep going when we felt like giving up. 

In appreciation of the support Nicky and I received,  I am now trying to raise funds for Anam Cara to support them in their work.

Sea kayaking has been a hobby of mine for over 30 years. Before Laura died, I had a dream to kayak around Ireland. Starting in June 2021, I hope to fulfil this dream. The 1600km trip will involve 6-8 weeks of kayaking approximately 30-40km each day and camping overnight. However for me, this trip is about so much more: it is another step in a journey of hope, courage and faith in the face of continuing grief, melancholy and sadness. 

This is a journey many bereaved parents face every day and for many years. Please donate what you can to help Anam Cara support bereaved parents on their journey.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

About the charity

Anam Cara is a national organisation founded by bereaved parents. We provide a range of bereavement support services throughout the 32 counties. More importantly, we offer peer support and understanding to families who have experienced the death of a child. Each year in Ireland about two thousand families experience the death of a son or daughter. For some, the death may have been expected through illness or a life-limiting condition. For others, it was unexpected through stillbirth, an accident, suicide or substance abuse. Anam Cara’s online and face to face services are available to all parents regardless of age or circumstances of their child’s death and are available for as long as necessary. At Anam Cara we focus on the similarities of our loss rather than the differences and provide a level of support and understanding that others cannot offer. Our bereavement as parents unites us. Anam Cara currently has nine active local groups meeting regularly throughout the country. All Anam Cara services are offered free of charge to bereaved parents and families, and as we do not receive government funding, we rely heavily on public fundraising to fund the costs of our local groups and events. We are hugely grateful to any support you can give us. Thank you!

Donation summary

Total raised
Online donations
Offline donations

* Charities pay a small fee for our service. Find out how much it is and what we do for it.