On Saturday, 17th September, Absolute Airsoft Cork, located on a 50 acre woodland site at Beal Na Blath, played host to the annual ‘Make Your Mark on Cancer’ charity airsoft game, raising a phenomenal €9,163 in aid of the Mercy Hospital Foundation. The funds raised will go towards the development of the new Mercy Cancer CARE Centre at 9 Dyke Parade in Cork City.      

Airsoft is a military simulation sport where players participate in mock combat with authentic military-style weapons and tactics. The fundraiser, now in its 6th year, was organised by father and son team, Martin and Mark Fehilly of Absolute Airsoft Cork. Over 170 supporters came out in force for the popular charity game, which to date has raised over €44,373 for ‘Make Your Mark on Cancer’, the fundraising initiative set up in memory of Bandon man, Mark Prendergast, who lost his battle with testicular cancer in June 2012. 

Since 2013, ‘Make Your Mark on Cancer’ events have raised over €430,000 for cancer supports funded by the Mercy Hospital Foundation. This year’s annual charity walk, together with the funds raised by an Absolute Airsoft Cork ‘Make Your Mark on Cancer’ charity game, raised €63,154. The funds raised will go towards the Mercy University Hospital Foundation’s new Cancer CARE Centre, which will provide vital support for patients and their loved ones as they go through their cancer journey.

The Mercy Cancer CARE Centre will provide a range of services, from one-to-one counselling and patient support groups, to a safe haven for patients at the time of their initial diagnosis. It will also be home to the hospital’s flagship psycho-oncology service to support the mental health and emotional needs of cancer patients and their families during such a difficult time. 

A former patient of the Mercy University Hospital and family friend of the Prendergast family, Martin Fehilly from Absolute Airsoft Cork, has been a huge supporter of ‘Make Your Mark on Cancer’, hosting the charity game on an annual basis. Martin said:

We were delighted to once again be able to support ‘Make Your Mark on Cancer’. I have my own connection with The Mercy, having been successfully treated for testicular cancer 20 years ago, which is also why I’m so keen to support this amazing cause. The Cancer CARE Centre will be such a fantastic support for people diagnosed with cancer, as well as their families, by offering them a dedicated  place to go for information and help.

Construction work began in August at the 3,000 sq ft building that will be home to the Mercy Cancer CARE Centre, which is located just a minute’s walk away from both the main entrance to the Mercy University Hospital and its Outpatient Department; and it is expected to be complete in the second half of 2023.

Damien Prendergast of ‘Make Your Mark on Cancer’ said:

We would like to thank Martin and Mark Fehilly and the team at Absolute Airsoft Cork for their continued support which has been fantastic, and of course all the players who joined in on September 17th. Huge thanks must also go to Waterford Airsoft, who year after year lend their support, in particular by donating very generous prizes for the raffle. Every cent raised makes a difference towards the Mercy Foundation’s development of the dedicated Cancer CARE Centre which we are very proud to support. As a family, we were very grateful for the support that both our brother Mark and our family received during what was a very difficult time. The dedicated Cancer CARE Centre will be a huge asset in helping so many more patients and their families during the difficult journey of a cancer diagnosis.

For more information on fundraising for the Mercy Hospital Foundation and information about the Mercy Cancer CARE Centre, visit www.mercyhospitalfoundation.ie.

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