A team of 22 Irish women including Irene Collins, Managing Director of EIQA, have braved the wilds of the Arctic Circle to raise money for Debra Ireland. The group survived the extreme cold of the arctic regions while raising money for children living with the painful genetic skin condition EB (epidermolysis bullosa).
Not for the faint-hearted, the team tackled the snowbound wilderness without running water, heat and electricity. This is a challenge for hardened survivalists let alone relative beginners. Among the group were tech pioneers, professional sportswomen and business leaders and Liz Collins, mother of 14-year-old Claudia Scanlon who has severe EB, was an inspiration to all.
A woodcutter’s lodge provided basic accommodation and each morning participants set out at daybreak breaking ice for water and collecting firewood before kindling the stove for breakfast.
They then trekked through two-metre snowdrifts until well after darkness, dragging supplies on sleds. Conditions were harsh but the group was rewarded with a stunning spectacle of the Northern Lights on the first night. On the third night they camped out overnight in tents in temperatures of – 22. With one of the leaders sleeping out in a hammock!
Irene Collins, Managing Director of EIQA said “Breaking out of my comfort zone turned out to be one of the most amazing and extraordinary experiences of my life. It was a privilege to be amongst such an amazing and interesting group of women. When times got tough... and they often did, I thought of Claudia & the children who are living with EB. This challenge was for them. We need to create awareness of EB and the painful and debilitating disease that it is. We were in very safe hands with such an experienced leadership team including Ronan & Cindy Mullen of Adventure.ie & Wicklow Mountain Rescue team, who were capably supported by Sinead Pollack Orr & Kieran Creevy. Overall it was a magical adventure and knowing that it is making a difference for children living with EB made it a wonderful success…”
EB affects about one in 18,000 babies in Ireland. Young people with the condition are often referred to as butterfly children because of their fragile skin, which causes painful sores and blistering. Debra Ireland helps about 300 EB patients, offering support services and pediatric nursing care. While there is no cure for the condition, research and clinical trials are being undertaken worldwide into developing treatments.
The 2018 Debra Ireland Arctic Challenge surpassed its €100,000 target, raising €120,000. Donations are still most gratefully accepted – see https://debraireland.org/fundraising/donate/
EIQA (Excellence Ireland Quality Association) has been the Irish National Quality Association since 1969 and currently audit the operating standards of thousands of organisations and businesses both in Ireland and Internationally. EIQA is known as the ‘Guardian’ of The Q Mark suite of standards.
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