This compassionate Dubliner has made a significant contribution to his local mental health charity, raising tens of thousands of euros in an effort to give back to his community. Paul Hennessy, a proud resident of Finglas who has lived there his entire life, has raised over €31,000 for the Finglas Suicide Support and Suicide Prevention Network since 2020. With the help of his close-knit community, Paul, 35, has raised over €20,000 this year alone, with more donations still pouring in.
Paul, the owner of Fitt Gym, explained to Dublin Live how his fundraising efforts began during the Covid lockdown: “We set up a running club because all we could do at that point was outdoor training. One evening, we were saying we should do this route and that route, and I said: ‘Why don’t we run the Finglas to Howth Summit?’ Everyone started laughing and saying we wouldn’t be able to do that but I said we could. We planned out the route and it came to 21km.”
During his research, Paul discovered the story of another local man who had raised funds for the Finglas Suicide Support and Suicide Prevention Network. Intrigued, he delved further into the charity’s work and was impressed by the free counselling service they offered. Paul reached out to the charity staff, who were thrilled with his idea to raise funds for them.
Reflecting on the impact of the charity’s work in the Finglas area, Paul shared, “We’ve had some members and family of members who have attended the free counselling sessions. Everyone’s spoken highly of it. I think anyone in the Finglas area has been touched by suicide in some cases.”
The annual charity run, now in its third year, saw around 250 participants run, walk, and cycle the 21km from Finglas to Howth on July 15. Despite the challenging weather conditions, Paul described the experience as enjoyable, saying, “The weather was horrendous. It was a really rainy day. It was tough conditions, but in a weird way, it almost made it more enjoyable. We made the most of the bad weather. It ended up being a laugh. We stayed in the car park of the summit and everyone cheered each other in.”
Paul expressed his gratitude to the local businesses that generously sponsored the run this year. One business sponsored the T-shirts for all the participants, while another financed the medals, water stations, and general first aid equipment.
As Paul’s gym approaches its 10th anniversary, he has already planned another fundraising event—a fun run around Christmas. He believes it will be a great opportunity to bring the community together and foster a sense of unity while supporting a local charity.
Those who wish to contribute to Paul’s fundraising efforts for the Finglas Suicide Prevention Network can donate on GoFundMe. By doing so, they will be helping to make a difference in the lives of those affected by mental health issues in the Finglas area.
This heartwarming story showcases the power of community spirit and the impact one individual can have when they decide to give back. Paul Hennessy’s dedication to raising funds for mental health support is a testament to the resilience and compassion of the people of Finglas. Through their collective efforts, they are making a positive change in their community and providing much-needed support to those who need it most.