The hospital consultant successfully scaled the highest peak in each county across the country in memory of Orla Gosnell who died five years ago, aged 38
On 22 July, Richard Horgan took the final steps of a gruelling and emotional challenge that had taken him up and down thirty-two peaks around Ireland.
As he descended the final peak, 918metre Galtymore on the Limerick/Tipperary border, the Cork-based obstetrician and gynaecologist said that the week had been “challenging and brilliant.”
He undertook the challenge in honour of his sister-in-law Orla Gosnell – a social care worker who tragically died just five months after the birth of her fifth child.
The Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) medic, in his 40s, was joined by Orla’s husband Robert, her mum Myriam and dad Kees on his final descent.
“I think if Orla could see us now, she’d be crying happy tears,” he said proudly.
Embracing the challenge
During the seven-day trek with colleague and friend, Professor Richard Greene, the pair camped overnight at the base of their next peak, climbing a combined altitude of 16,000m, almost twice that of Mount Everest.
They slept for little more than four hours each night, beginning the mammoth ’32 County Peaks in 1 Week’ challenge in Cork on Sunday, 16 July, and traversing 2,100km of countryside by jeep to the highest point in each county.
The all-island itinerary, hammered out weeks in advance, went without a hitch – not even derailed by less-than-ideal weather conditions.
Richard undertook the climb in Orla’s memory – but also to raise funds to construct relaxing spaces in CUMH’s corridors for patients, their partners and staff.
He has almost tripled his initial target of €10,000 – with over €34,000 so far raised for CUH Charity from supporters at home and overseas.
“I am overwhelmed by the love and respect for Orla, the support for Richard Greene and I, for CUMH, and I am humbled by the generosity and support of so many,” Richard said.
Claire Concannon of CUH Charity described the Cork city-based father-of-three as a “fantastic representative” of so many donors who choose to fundraise in memory of a loved one.
“We are absolutely blown away by Richard’s energy and enthusiasm throughout the week and hugely appreciate his effort. Big thanks also to Prof Greene for such incredible support.”
Richard said Orla always enjoyed a brilliant relationship with children.
“She loved being pregnant but always wanted to be involved and to know everything about her care. She was so dynamic, it was always about the solution rather than the problem with her. This lives on in her five fabulous kids,” he said.