Dublin man Kalebh Fynes plans to row across the Irish Sea to raise money and awareness for DEBRA, a charity and patient support organisation for people living with the rare and painful skin condition Epidermolysis bullosa (EB).
Kalebh Fynes, a 28-year-old engineer from Dublin, has taken on Mount Kilimanjaro in the past to raise money and awareness for the rare disease that his brother died of in 2001 at 16 years old.
After raising thousands for Irish Charity DEBRA, a national charity that offers patient support for people suffering from EB in Ireland, he plans to row the Irish Sea with the hopes of raising more funds for the charity.
Dublin man to row Irish Sea to honour late brother – an incredible fundraiser
Kalebh’s brother Aaron died in 2001 at the age of 16 following a life-long battle with EB. EB is a rare and extremely painful skin condition that causes the skin to blister or tear at the slightest touch.
It’s so rare, in fact, that it affects around one in every 50,000 people, with around 300 people in Ireland suffering from the condition.
He was only six years old when his brother passed, but he said in a statement that he has vivid memories of how Aaron would “light up every room”.
“Everyone loved Aaron,” Kalebh said. “He had such a special presence and would light up every room.
“Whenever we visited our local football club in Killester, everyone would stop to greet Aaron.”
Multiple expeditions – all for his late brother
After organising an international run in 2020, Kalebh recently climbed Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro in order to raise funds for DEBRA, raising €3,235 towards research and assistance for those suffering from the debilitating skin disease.
Before taking on Africa’s highest mountain, Kalebh revealed that he had only ever climbed 1,000 m (3280 ft) before taking on the 5,895 m (19,340 ft) challenge in Tanzania.
“I had never hiked for two days in a row before, and when I reached the top of Kilimanjaro, one of the guides said to me, ‘your brother would be so proud of you’.
“That, for me, was the highlight of the trip, and as we prepared for the descent, I was able to reflect more on my reasons for the climb.
“Reaching the peak of a mountain like this is both a physical and mental challenge and for me, it really put into perspective the challenges that children with EB face daily.”
Kalebh’s DEBRA campaign – how you can help
Before undergoing the crossing of the Irish Sea, Kalebh also intends to cycle from Dublin to Galway and back to raise more funds and awareness for DEBRA.
“My friends think I’m a bit crazy, but if something like rowing to England helps to raise awareness for Debra, then it’s a challenge worth taking on,” Kalebh said.
To follow Kalebh’s journey and expeditions and to donate to his DEBRA campaign, head over to his JustGiving page here.
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