A HEREFORD nurse who worked on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic is now trying to help children and their families in Palestine who have been injured in the recent attacks in the Middle East.
Mary-Clare McGivern, who attended Aylestone High School and Hereford Sixth Form College prior to training as a nurse in Leeds, has pledged to raise funds by walking one kilometer for every adult killed in Gaza and two kilometers for every child .
On May 18, she said it would be at least 150 miles in total, but a ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Gaza later in the month after an 11-day military offensive in Gaza, believed to be the worst violence in the region since 2014.
Miss McGivern wanted to raise funds for Palestinian Medical Aid (MAP), a charity that works in Gaza to provide emergency and life-saving care to those affected by the attacks.
Inspired by a visit to the area and the time she spent at the NHS during the pandemic, Miss McGivern said, “I’ve had enough of watching the news and feeling sad, angry, and helpless, so I’ve decided to.” do what “I can.
“It won’t be enough, but something is better than nothing.
“In March of this year there was only one hospital bed for every 800 people.
“Gaza is only 41 km long and a maximum of 12 km wide, yet it is home to over two million Palestinians who are relentlessly bombed and who have starved of basic resources for decades.
“I know while the bombs are falling my total will keep climbing – I just have to keep running.”
Her older sister Madeleine, who worked as a human rights monitor in Palestine and Israel and has visited the Gaza Strip several times, has started an initiative called Children Across Borders.
The project is a website where people can send messages of support to the parents and grandparents of Gaza.
Madeleine, who also attended Aylestone and Hereford Sixth Form College and now has a two year old son, said, “I cannot imagine the pain parents in Palestine have to go through knowing they cannot protect their children right now .
“I have seen pictures and videos from Gaza showing injured or killed children, but also children proudly showing off their favorite fish that they rescued from the rubble of their home and saying that they want to become doctors to help people , and splashing in a can bath surrounded by destruction but still laughing.
“We all have children that we know and love in our lives – this website is a way to tell parents that their children are on our minds.”