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New Year’s Day walk up Bessy Bell to raise awareness of organ donation

A MAN who has undergone a heart transplant and a sister who donated her kidney to her brother are among the walkers preparing for a challenging hike to the top of Bessy Bell mountain this New Year’s Day.

The annual walk, organised by Friends of the Glen, aims to raise awareness of the need for organ donation.

Beginning at the Mellon Country Inn, close to the Ulster American Folk Park, the walkers will follow tar and gravel trails along the Ulster Way, with limited grass terrain, as they make their way to the top of the local mountain (1,377 ft). It will take around two hours.

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Sean Harpur, of Friends of the Glen, knows all about the importance of organ donation.

His father, Eamon, died of kidney failure at the age of 52, some six years after receiving a transplant.

One of Sean’s aunts also died of kidney failure, while another is in recovery after receiving a kidney from her husband.

The walk organiser said that “so many people” in Omagh had either received organs or were waiting for an organ donation.

He said that, of those people expected to be on the walk this year, one man had undergone a heart transplant and there would also be a woman who had donated a kidney to her brother.

“You’ll never know when you will need an organ,” Sean said.

The Friends of the Glen have invited local people and visitors to join them on the annual walk. Suitable footwear is advised.

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Adding to the festive cheer, on the way back down Bessy Bell the walkers will stop for refreshments in a big shed on the McAnulla farm.

There will be tea, coffee, Christmas cake and perhaps even hot whiskeys!

The walk will begin at 10am on Tuesday, January 1, with registration at the hotel from 9.30am.

The cost is £5 for adults, with children going free.

Sean added, “Friends of the Glens are grateful to the management of the Mellon Country Inn for the use of their premises and to the Mc Anulla family for access to their land.”

• For further details, visit the Friends of the Glen Facebook page.

 

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