A letter from PKRF founder and organiser James Nolan.
The 32nd running of the “Have the Conversation – Say YES to Organ Donation” Punchestown Charity Race took place on Saturday 29th April 2023. The weather was absolutely fantastic and people stayed on in their thousands to cheer on all the jockeys and create a wonderful atmosphere providing a fitting finale to the Festival. Local Kilcullen championship winning footballer, Paul Bell expertly steered home Stuzzikini trained by Gordon Elliot to win the race from local Kilcullen beautician Sinead Smullen on board Jungle Cove trained by Jessica Harrington with Triona Burbage back in third on Diamondinthemud trained by Nigel Slevin. There really was an amazing atmosphere and most importantly all our jockeys completed safely and enjoyed the privilege of riding at the Punchestown Festival.
2023 was quite simply another phenomenal year for the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund. The Jockeys managed to raise €94,158 on the day of the event, which is a new record for the past 32 years of the Charity Race. This means that the cumulative total raised to date is €1,796,835, which is absolutely incredible.
During the past two years we managed to support the following projects:
• We sponsored and helped the IKA establish a pilot peer support program for all kidney patients in Ireland. This program offers vital supports to patients and their families who are dealing with all the various issues and concerns that is all part of being a dialysis or transplant patient.
• We established the James Tracy/PKRF/Kidney Beam Exercise program for all Dialysis & Transplant patients, which will enable all patients to access free, online, live and on demand exercise classes, specifically tailored to all different levels of fitness and specifically for kidney patients.
• We continued our research into Polycystic Kidney Disease in partnership with the Irish Nephrology Society under the guidance of the Irish Research Council.
• We continued our support for our Art Therapy programs for Dialysis Patients in Tallaght & Waterford Dialysis Units – and we will expand this to Wexford in 2024.
• We continued to support Sports Programs for Dialysis & Transplant Patients.
• We organised a trip to Lourdes for one Dialysis patient and a carer.
So many people deserve huge thanks for making the charity race such an unbelievable success. The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund enjoys the privilege of being permitted to run our Charity Race during the Irish National Hunt Racing Festival at Punchestown Racecourse. Great credit is due to all the Team at Punchestown Racecourse who make our race day so special, as well as all the staff at The Turf Club who so generously volunteer their services on the day and also the staff at H.R.I. & R.A.C.E. who ensure our race is run correctly.
We are very grateful to all the owners and the trainers who have given continued support to our race, every year, for the past 32 years. We would like to acknowledge the various forms of media, whose coverage of our race in whatever way, is hugely important both to our charity and to all those people awaiting life-saving transplants; you all give hope to so many others by raising the profile of Organ Donor Awareness in Ireland.
On behalf of the charity I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund in any small way at all, as this has helped us to support various projects which, in turn improves the quality of life for those patients living with kidney illness and also helps us to create positive Organ Donor Awareness in Ireland.
I wish everyone continued good health.