Dad runs 10km a day for 365 days to raise money for hospital caring for his son (9)

A man who today completed a challenge to run 3,650kms over 365 days, all to raise funds for the hospital caring for his son, said he got through it “one day at a time”.

ince July 1 last year Joe Hammel has run 10kms a day, every single day – hail, rain or shine.

He wanted to give back to everyone who has cared for his son Joseph (9) since his cancer diagnosis in 2019.

Joe, from Bettystown, Co Meath said: “I just cannot believe I have made it.

“I’m 47-years-old and to run 10k every day for a year is something I’m proud to have achieved and I hope it will inspire others to do things they think may be beyond them.”

He said the day he and wife Nicole were told Joseph had a large tumour between his heart and lung “was and will remain, undoubtedly, the darkest time of our lives”.

It was the size of a melon and needed treatment to shrink it before surgery to remove it.

“Our son was under the care of one of the best paediatric oncology teams in Europe under the guidance and direction of Dr Cormac Owens. We owe so much to the remarkable talent and care he and his team gave our son.

“Joseph will continue to be a patient of Our Lady’s Hospital until he is a young adult.

“However, because of the care and treatment he has received in Crumlin (hospital), we are hopeful he will grow to live as much as a normal life as we could hope and pray for.”

Joseph is going into fourth class and Joe says doctors are very happy with his progress.

Last year he decided: “It is now my turn to help raise much needed funds for the hospital by committing to run at least 10k a day for 365 consecutive days. The funds raised will go to the Children’s Cancer/Oncology unit who will decide where the money will be spent.

“We will never be able to repay the hospital and its extraordinary staff for all they have done for us, but we hope the money raised will help children like Joseph on their journey back to full health.”

Joe said that by day 14 or his efforts: “I thought I would not make it to day 20 but I just learned to adapt and take it one day at a time.

“I have raised over €41,000 now and thinking of the unbelievable work Crumlin have done for our family, just kept me going and I was going to stop at nothing to get through the challenge.”

He said he will be sad it is coming to an end “because I thrived on the challenge and I learnt so much on a personal level”.

“As an introvert this challenge took me way beyond my comfort zone and I had to put myself out there to try and raise as much as possible.

“It was very uncomfortable and unnerving to bring such exposure to myself and commit to such a gruelling year-long challenge. I became a lot more confident and comfortable in communication with people even though the exposure made me more vulnerable.”

He will now take a break from running.

“I be forever grateful to everyone who supported me. I have a very small social media presence and to raise over €41,000 for me has been overwhelming.”

His employer, Mercer, sponsored the eight pairs of runners he has gone through and he thanked everyone who supported and encouraged him every day.

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