HomeIrish NewsHeffernan Travel's Helena Crowley Launches Golf Classic Fundraiser for Cork University Hospital

Heffernan Travel’s Helena Crowley Launches Golf Classic Fundraiser for Cork University Hospital

Esteemed travel agent Helena Crowley is organising a major fundraising event for the physio team which helped her walk again.

Helena, of Heffernan Travel, spent five months in Cork University Hospital (CUH) after suffering paralysis in her hands and legs. 

Now, just over a year later, the keen golfer is drumming up support for a four-ball Golf Classic at Monkstown Golf Club on April 20. 

The funds raised will enable CUH Charity to buy new equipment for the hospital’s physio unit – which played a pivotal role in her recovery.

Helena Crowley, centre, a former patient at CUH, with Monkstown Golf Professional Shane Irwin and Colm Clarke, a physiotherapist at CUH, at the launch of the CUH Charity Golf Classic to be held at Monkstown Golf Club on April 20. Book your team at: https://PhysioCharityGolfClassic.eventbrite.com/ (Picture: Brian Lougheed)

“It was St Stephen’s Day in 2021 when all the feeling in my legs went and I couldn’t stand up,” recalls Helena, from Rochestown. 

“I was getting worse and after two days, I called my friend Lucy McPolin, an occupational therapist, who said I needed to get to hospital.” 

An operation in Dublin’s Mater Hospital was followed by a five-month stint in CUH from early January until late May 2022. She was then sent to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire for a further 10 weeks. 

“Through all of this, it was CUH physio staff – and particularly Colin Clarke – who got me walking again and I decided that I wanted to do something to thank them,” said Lee Travel employee Helena, who previously worked with City Travel Cork and Sunworld Holidays.

“I was there during Covid and had few visitors, so I had to make friends with all the nurses and physios!” 

The CUH physio team put her through her paces, using strengthening exercises, gym work and parallel bars.

She got back on her feet last March – and by November was finally able to walk unaided. 

“I woke up one day, stood up, walked out of the bedroom into the bathroom and went ‘oh my God!’ “I’ve always been positive, I’m never going to give up and it helped having a great friend in Jeanette Taylor, who has been with me through it all since I became ill.”

Helena now hopes her friends and contacts in the travel industry will be among those supporting the Golf Classic on April 20. 

A portion of the proceeds will also go to the Robbie Smart Fund in memory of one of her colleagues, a highly-respected figure in the travel trade, who died suddenly in November, aged 44. The Laois native, who lived in Drogheda, Co Louth, was posthumously honoured with the first ‘On the Road Hero’ award at the Irish Travel Industry’s 2023 awards.

*If you can support the Golf Classic, (€400 per team), book your tee time at: https://PhysioCharityGolfClassic.eventbrite.com/

Tee times: 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm, followed by a two-course meal.

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.

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