BELLEEK-BORN charity runner, Pat O’Loughlin (77), is ‘a shining star’ in the eyes of the MS Society of Northern Ireland.
To date, Pat, who now lives in retirement in Castlederg, has completed 34 consecutive Dublin marathons to raise funds for ground-breaking MS research. And, in that time, he has raised over £54,000 for MS research.
The MS Society, “Shining Star” accolade is awarded to extraordinary volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to the Society.
And, at a special awards’ night in Hillsborough Castle this week, Pat, accompanied by his wife, Philomena received the award from the North’s Health Minister, Edwin Poots.
The director of the MS Society, Patricia Gordon also attended.
Pat, a former Fermanagh GAA star, was inspired towards fund-raising through running by his friend, John Doherty whose son Ian was diagnosed with MS 13 years ago.
Along, with his running partner Jenny McMenamim, Pat has raised £54,000 for the Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair and the MS Society.
He has completed every Dublin marathon since 1980, the only runner from the North to do so and, this, despite battling prostate cancer and undergoing radiotherapy in 2011.
Minister Poots said it was the valued support of volunteers like Pat O’Loughlin, and branches, that made the awards’ night possible.
Ever a modest man, Pat said he was delighted to receive the award, and he vowed to keep running ‘as long as my hips, knees and ankles allow’.
He thanked everyone who had supported his fundraising efforts for MS research.
Patricia Gordon said she was confident that, ‘one day, in the not so distant future’, the Cambridge Centre would make myelin repair therapies a reality.
“It could revolutionise the treatment options available for people with MS”, she added, “and bring us closer to our goal of beating MS for good.”
On behalf of the MS Society, she thanked Pat, his running mate, Jenny McMenamin and all his supporters for their commitment.
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