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Today the 25th of April at 1:30 p.m.was when the entire St.Columba’s College community were to join Old Columban and extreme runner Alex Panayotu in stages of her 24 hour ‘Run till the Sun’ around the college grounds in aid of Purple House Cancer Centre.

The entire College community: comprising pupils, staff, parents, Old Columbans, friends of the college Come together to give something back to a very worthy charitable cause. The reason why this is not happening as I write is very clear.

The world will come out on the right side of this current global pandemic. So the ‘Run til the Sun’ is only postponed. It will be nice to have something to look forward to when we will eventually be allowed to get together.

As a cancer survivor, Alex has been in isolation in the northern suburbs of Athens for over six weeks with only her faithful dog Robyn for company. Alex tells me she is doing at least two hours of running and walking every day on Mount Penteli training and preparing for when her ‘Run til the Sun’ endurance challenge will happen. She also said ‘Liam you have no idea how much I am looking forward to seeing and running with all the pupils and supporters of ‘Run til the Sun’.

I am delighted to say that in a time which is a disturbing and challenging one for so many that I can give you some good news. Purple House has finally secured a permanent home after thirty years. The HSE approved a prioritised capital application for funds towards the purchase of its new permanent premises on Duncairn Terrace in Bray. This was announced in the midst of the current crisis it will give hope to the thousands who use its services every year. The ‘Run to the Sun’ committee delighted for Conor O’Leary and Stephanie Murphy, their dedicated team and all the charity’s volunteers. Although the doors of Purple House are closed their hearts are open and hampers and support are being provided for cancer patients who are isolating.

Purple House will need to launch fundraising when the crisis is over as they will need support to fund their move. The St.Columba’s ‘Run til the Sun committee’ are looking forward to giving them as much support as our community can muster.

The College is delighted to announce details of a fantastic charitable event taking place this April – Run til the Sun! On Saturday, April 25th, Old Columban Alex Panayotou – an accomplished long-distance runner – will challenge herself to run for 24 hours around the College campus. She is looking for your support along the way – both financial and physical – to complete this mammoth challenge.

The event is being organised by a committee of pupils, who have decided that all proceeds from the event should go to Purple House Cancer Support – a fantastic charitable organisation based in Bray that provide hands-on practical support for children and teenagers with cancer. They have set up a fundraising page here where all donations, large and small, will be gratefully received.

You will soon be able to sign up to join Alex on a leg of her journey; perhaps you’re willing to run for a half-hour, 10 kilometres or even something more ambitious? You can run in the morning, afternoon, evening or even at night time – with the course illuminated along the way. The event will culminate with a celebratory barbeque at the Cricket Pavillion on Sunday evening.

The pupils have created a dedicated page for the event here and a donations page here. They have a fundraising target of €8000, which would be transformational for Purple House, as the vast majority of their funding is through donations. We were delighted to welcome Purple House to the College Chapel last Monday to hear about the work they did and some of the organising committee visited their facility in Bray a few weeks ago. Alex is a cancer survivor, another reason why the charity resonated with the pupils.

So please do get involved, donate to the cause, sponsor a runner or run a leg of the journey yourself. We would love the whole community to get involved – pupils, staff, parents, Old Columbans, friends of the College and even local primary schools.