Brid tragically lost her son Gerard on the 3rd January 2011. To remember him, she and her husband Pat decided to run the very special Gerard Murphy Memorial Vintage and Classic Car Run.
Her heart is broken and she will never recover the loss of Gerard. The purpose of the memorial is to remember Gerard and they always hold it around the time of his birthday. It is also to create awareness for the help and services that are out there for people in the whole area of Mental Health. They put up photos with helpline numbers so people can inconspicuously take a picture of the number which they can use at a later stage. There are a number of helplines including Pieta House (1800 247 247) which they have supported for the last 8 years. If you can’t pick up a phone, talk to someone, share your problem. The more people that are trained to identify the triggers the better. It’s so important if we meet someone to ask them ‘How are you feeling today’. If you have that little bit of training, you will see the signs that someone is in difficulty.
For the last few years they have fundraised for Slaney Search and Rescue and The Hub, Glenbrahan in Co. Limerick. From tents to trophies to sandwiches for the drivers, it all has to be paid. In the past eight years they have raised approximately €105,000. They have also paid for a dumper for Ferns Graveyard and water pipes down throughout the graveyard with water point’s as there was only one tap at the top which made it difficult for elderly people watering pots etc. There were also donations made to the Church, school and community centre in Ferns and to the Red Cross.
John Boland has been involved in the memorial for the last few years and nominated Brid as he sees just how much work and passion she puts into the event.
The past 8 years have been so hard for her whole family, but through her determination she has turned sadness into help and inspiration for other people.
One of the people that helped out at the event subsequently became homeless themselves and is now in the Hub, Glenbrahan, in Limerick.
Brid said she was accepting the award on behalf of herself and her husband. ‘She does the leg work but Pat is the one with all the contacts’. Brid campaigns actively in the whole area of mental health and her message to people is to talk, if someone has a problem share it. She would like to thank everyone who comes to help and support the day.
Brid can now stand up in front of hundreds of people and speak about the awful effect of suicide on families and subsequently did two TV interviews and spoke at a conference in Loughderg.
She was also tasked by her local Parish priest to compile a cookery book which was sold as a parish fund raiser for the parish.
She said her son was a lovely young man with the world at his feet. The loss is greater than could be imagined, but in what she does she knows other lives have been saved.
People travel from all over Ireland and the UK to come to the event every year and book their accommodation before they leave.
The event is self funding, the purpose is more to raise awareness of suicide in Ireland and to encourage people to seek help and not be afraid to do so.