Overnight, the specially designed O’Neills jersey for Danny that he wore on the final day of the challenge was also released and is now on sale through the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum (BBHF).
Danny gave his first-ever speech at the launch Friday night, to a room full of friends and family. He said: “I know this is just the start of the Danny Quigley (DQ) fund, but its principles go back a long time. Back as far as March 20, 2011, when our black Labrador cried his last cry.
“Hope, perseverance and mutual aid; the directors who helped me at the time and who occupy such an important place in the work that we undertook to do together within the DQ Fund.
Since then, the first year is really the most significant in my mind. It was a state of limbo. A state of absence for me. Absence of the world, absence of myself. All feeling and I was gone. Luckily, thanks to the people here tonight and the BBHF, I was, quite simply, nurtured, nurtured and cared for. I can assure you that this launch, it is only us who are lifted and transported to the starting line. Now the real racing can begin.
“The 10 out of 10 was for my dad, Colm Quigley. What a legend he was.
“My father’s suicide was the start of a new life for me. The things I thought I wanted didn’t matter anymore. My goal was not to be successful, rich. I simply challenged myself to get up every morning and breathe. Sometimes it’s a lot harder than it looks.
“So every day I was getting up, inhaling and exhaling and I was winning. My focus shifted from the general long-term idea of having a successful life to much shorter tasks. Small daily tasks that gave a meaning to my life. This new approach has done wonders for me. I have become much easier to live with. The issues that I had carried over the years became lighter and lighter until they no longer are no longer worth carrying. Now I was happy and it didn’t come from outside, it came from within.
“I have focused my life every day on teaching others how to live healthily and take care of themselves, mentally and physically. How lucky are we? Lucky to be born, lucky to live. Lucky to be able to keep trying. To continue to take care of ourselves and each other.
“Sometimes it’s good to be selfish, life can be depressing. Life is hard. Most things are hard work. But always remember there are people here for you when you’re not. you’re not here for yourself. Take care of yourself.”
Danny then presented the first two scholarships from the Danny Quigley Fund, the first to Arc Fitness, which provides help and support to people suffering from addiction and the second to Seamus Crossan, manager of Belmont Cottages, which provides accommodation, support and care to adults. with learning disabilities and complex needs.
Danny also received a framed drawing of himself resting after a cycle, which was drawn by Derry artist Dave Campbell.
Check out some of the photos from the launch. Peter Jack, lifelong friend of Danny’s father, Colm, said: “Ten years ago we didn’t know much about social media, but there was pressure on Colm, Danny’s father, so the rest of us just weren’t aware, as we now tragically know.
“Colm was a great athlete and more importantly it was very obvious that he adored his kids. There’s a great photo of Colm pushing Danny on the swing. It’s so cute. Then there’s the photo athlete on a bike, he was an international athlete who was so proud to represent this city.
“All kinds of people suffer from mental health issues. A mental health problem is like a physical health problem, except you can’t see it. And that makes matters worse. We all go down sometimes, especially when it’s hot. And the heat was on our superstar, Danny, from day one of his epic ten-day journey.
“Danny had trained hard for his event, but he knew it wasn’t just a physical challenge, there was a mental challenge with what we’re doing here tonight and the amazing fundraising and the charities that will benefit.”
Bronagh Cooper, of the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum, said: “Danny really wanted to be transparent. He said it was the people’s money and he wanted everyone to see where the money is going.
“This money is for real people sitting in a seat and seeing a therapist or counselor. The number of men who have asked for help has been incredible since Danny made his 10 out of 10, so for that reason alone the impact of Danny’s work has been incredible.
“This money will not only be used within the Health Forum. The grants will mean that they will be broadcast to other organizations across the city and filtered to show people what can be done with that money.
“It’s great that we got all this money and we’re using it massively. A lot of our conversations with Danny are about sustainability. We have massive plans for how this fund is going to sustain itself, how we we will continue to provide these services.
“Part of that durability is the launch of the Danny Quigley shirt he wore on his last day of 10-in-10.”
The shirt costs £30 with proceeds going to the fund. Shirts can be ordered by contacting the BBHF at [email protected] or call (028) 71 365330