IRISH cycling legend Seán Kelly has urged the public to join him in helping to save countless children’s lives during next year’s Tour de Munster competition.
The star, who was a constant presence on the sport’s international circuit during the 1980s, made the call during a celebration dinner for the leading charity at the weekend.
Since the Tour de Munster began in 2001 it has raised more than €500,000 for the Chernobyl Children’s Project International group’s children’s heart appeal.
As a result vital medical treatments for a generation still scarred by the April 26, 1986, nuclear power plant disaster have been able to take place, with 85 children benefiting from the €85,000 raised during the latest event in August.
As part of the tour, hundreds of participants cycle more than 600km through the heart of Munster to highlight the situation still facing children in Ukraine and Belarus.
For the past four years it has been led by Mr Kelly — who has urged the public to begin preparing for the latest leg next year.
Speaking at the celebration dinner at the Silver Springs Moran Hotel in Cork city, the group’s fundraising manager Miriam Forde said it was essential Ireland continued to lend their support to children in need, regardless of the economic downturn.
Tour de Munster organiser Paul Sheridan, added that the proof of why the funding was so important could be seen every day in those who receive help.
“The life-saving operations bring great joy to families and communities.
“This was really brought home to me when I received a card from a couple who simply wanted to acknowledge the great miracles performed by doctors like Bill Novik who is part of the team of surgeons who carry out these operations.
“They are parents of a child who underwent heart surgery in Ireland and are incredibly grateful for the outcome. Their card was accompanied by an anonymous and incredibly generous donation,” he said.
Next year’s instalment of the tour is due to take place in August, with dozens of children in Ukraine and Belarus — where one out of every two deaths are due to cardiovascular disease — expected to benefit from the fundraising donations.
* Further information is available at tourdemunster.com, chernobyl-international.com, and from Paul Sheridan at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved