Kenilworth dental hygienist's 66-mile challenge in memory of her husband

Jackie O'Neill. Photo supplied.
Jackie O'Neill. Photo supplied.

A woman who works in Kenilworth is preparing to take on a 66-mile challenge in memory of her much-loved husband.

Jackie O’Neill, who works as a dental hygienist at Abbey End Dental Practice in Kenilworth, will be taking on the ‘Isle of Wight Challenge’ where she will walk 66 miles in 24 hours around the Isle of Wight in May.

She is taking on the challenge to help raise money for the Myton Hospices in memory of her husband Eamonn who died in April 2018.

Eamonn was 61 years old when he died of stomach cancer.

Jackie, who lives in Thurlaston near Rugby, was married to Eamonn for 33 years and they have two children.

She wanted to repay the Myton Hospices for the help they gave to them. “Eamonn spent two weeks rehabilitating at Myton Hospice in Warwick,” said Jackie. “Their work there inspired me to raise money for them, so that other people could benefit from this amazing place.

“They provide a loving supportive team that helped our whole family.”

Talking about the challenge Jackie said: “I picked the Isle of Wight challenge as it was something I had wanted to do with Eamonn. It looked a difficult challenge that was physically and mentally challenging.

“I promised Myton, when Eamonn had a two recuperation sessions at Warwick, that I would do a charity event to raise money for them and this felt like a good challenge and fundraiser.

“I began preparing for the walk in December 2018, with short walks of around eight to 10 miles each weekend. “During January the mileage increased each week. The mileage I cover is now around 25-30 miles.

“I am doing the Coventry Way in early April, this is a 40-mile circular walk around Coventry, starting and finishing in Meriden.

“To do the challenge successfully, it’s all about the preparation and keeping injury free. I am nervous at the thought of doing this challenge, and it will be hard on the body, feet and mind.”

When asked what she thought her husband would make of her challenge Jackie said: “Eamonn would roll his eyes and say don’t you have enough to do without adding more to your busy life.

“He would encourage me and would have done the walk with me. He would walk with me, despite him being fitter and quicker than me. He gave me encouragement and inspiration to believe in myself, that you can do the challenges.”

Jackie is hoping to raise £2,000 and has so far raised £750. To donate click here.

To help raise money Jackie will be holding two coffee and cake mornings at Abbey End Dental Practice in Kenilworth.

The fundraising events will take place on Tuesday March 12 and Wednesday March 13 from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

There will also be a raffle at the coffee mornings. The raffle will feature prizes such as: toiletry hampers, a chocolate hamper, beauty treatments at the Salt Rooms, a window cleaning voucher, two tickets for The Coventry Blades Ice hockey, a £10 Marks and Spencer’s voucher, Benefit make-up and many more prizes.