Castleisland Native Runs in Peru to Help Disaster hit Ecuador

Castleisland native, Maurice O'Connor, fund-raising for disaster hit Ecuador through running.
Castleisland native, Maurice O’Connor, fund-raising for disaster hit Ecuador through running.

Castleisland native, Maurice O’Connor left home for New York as a teenager in 1994. He still has strong connections and roots here and in the Firies area.

Running is Maurice’s thing and, when he planned to run in a race in Lima in Peru, a couple of things came together to help him decide to raise funds from his efforts and exactly how to spend what he raised.

“I heard about the earthquake in Ecuador of course. My girlfriend, Elizabeth is from there and I decided that I could raise funds from the run in Lima for the disaster in Ecuador,” said Maurice.

Made Every Cent Count

But Maurice didn’t just raise a sum of money and hand it over to a registered charity. He followed it through and made every cent count – as you’ll see from his story:

“I have gone to Ecuador a few times over the past five years or so and I have made a few friends down there along with my girlfriend’s family – and I also have a God-daughter there,” he said.

Ecuador has been hit by several earthquakes so far this year. The one which motivated Maurice O’Connor to doing his altruistic deeds struck in mid April. Up to 700 people were killed and almost 30,000 were injured and left homeless. Towns and villages were flattened and a state of emergency was declared in the area. Unfortunately, some of the same areas have been hit again in July.

Managed to Raise $5,535

“I decided to run in that race in Peru so I could raise money for this disaster and I managed to gather $5,535 towards helping the worst hit people. After the race I went to Ecuador to buy food with family and friends with the money I had raised,” Maurice continued.

“I hired and paid for a truck to drive all the food from Quito the capital of Ecuador to Pedernales, Esmeraladas and Jama where the earthquake hit.

“We drove around in the truck with the food in the back and went out to the areas and the towns where people had not been helped. We drove in to the rural areas where we knew there were people who needed the food we had to give,” he said.

Connections with Ecuador

Maurice made contact with The Maine Valley Post during the early part of the summer. He mentioned in an email that he had just done a run down in Lima and I asked him what it was for. It was then he told me about his connections with Ecuador and the disaster fund. I asked him ages ago and since to tell me his story from the race in Peru to the food distribution project in Ecuador.

He eventually came up trumps in spite of his reluctance at first. He also provided a fine collection of photographs to go with this piece.

©The Maine Valley Post 2016

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