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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 29 September 2020

49 cyclists, 700km and one very good cause

Dozens of Irish people are set to cycle across Spain to raise vital funds for night nurses.

Image: Shutterstock

DOZENS OF CYCLISTS will be donning their spandex as they bid to cycle across Spain to raise funds for the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF).

Later this month, 49 people will cycle 700km between San Sebastian and Barcelona in aid of the IHF’s night nurses service.

Over the last six years, more than 300 people have taken part in eight European-based cycles, raising a total of €1.2 million for the Hospice.

Since 2012, the money raised has supported the Nurses for Night Care Service, which was developed for people with illnesses other than cancer to fulfil their wish to die at home with dignity.

The service, which was set up in 2006, is offered free of charge to patients and their families. Over 1,200 people have used it to date and demand for the service continues to increase annually.

It cost over €385,000 to fund in 2013, but demand is due to increase by 20% this year, meaning it will cost €450,000.

Sharon Foley, CEO of the IHF, said that the cycle raised over €140,000 last year.

Demand for the Nurses for Night Care service continues to increase year on year with over 317 people using the service in 2013. We need to be able to meet the demand and continue our support. Thanks to the public’s continued support and generosity we have been able to achieve that.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our wonderful volunteers for taking part in this event. It’s a powerful thought to think that while these cyclists are undertaking a journey of their own, they are helping those back in Ireland on their final journey.”

Fifth time’s a charm

Noel Gavin will be completing the cycle for the fifth time this year.

He is the founder of Loop the Loop cycle in Clare, which also raises funds for the Hospice.

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Gavin said that he is taking part in the Spanish event because “people want to die at home and they’re not always able to”.

Some day, hopefully not for a long time, I may have to use it myself. It may be one of my family or myself. I’ve had friends who had cancer and other diseases that were terminal and had to avail of night nurses.

Gavin admitted that the cycle is daunting, but also a privilege.

“Any time we feel like complaining on the bike, we think of someone at home dealing with cancer and you shut up pretty quickly,” he said.

“I feel I’m going to be in bits, I’ll bring lots of Vaseline!”

The Kingspan IHF Cycle will take place from 20-26 July. For more information on the event or to donate, visit the IHF website.

Read: Are you comfortable talking about death and dying?

Read: 2,500 patients a year are denied access to hospice services

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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