Kieran McCarthy can be forgiven for feeling a little jaded on the start line for next month’s Dublin City Marathon.
The married father-of-two will have reached the line after cycling through the night the 200km from Shannon — and this after starting his challenge at 6am the previous morning to cycle the distance from Dublin to Shannon to swim 10km in the local pool.
Asked what motivates him to take on such a challenge that will benefit two Clare charities, the Clare Crusaders and TLC4CF, Kieran replies: “Simply, Aoibheann. What it boils down to is I’m her dad and its my job to do what it takes to keep her safe and healthy.”
Now seven, Kieran’s daughter, Aoibheann was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis over five years ago.
Around one in 19 Irish people are carriers of the CF gene and where two carriers parent a child together, there is a one in four chance of the baby being born with CF.
Kieran says: “When you see what Aoibheann goes through every day before she even goes to school, it only inspires you to push yourself.”
The death of four members of the close-knit Clare CF community this year have brought the challenge faced by Aoihbeann and her parents into sharp focus.
Three of those who died were under the age of 30. Aoibheann’s mother Sinead said: “As a parent of a child with a serious illness you learn to live with certain things and put your fears for the future to the back of your mind as best you can.
“The recent losses in our local CF community made the reality of what we are facing really hit home. It is hard to describe the feeling. You feel deep sympathy for the parents, most of whom we would know, for the child they have lost, and no matter how you try to stop it entering your head, you can’t help but think that this may lie ahead for us.”
The money to be raised by Kieran’s challenge is to towards the Clare Crusaders and TLC4CF with the Crusaders needing €150,000 to ensure its clinic can provide therapies to 400 children while TLC4CF requires €900,000 to kit out the new adult CF unit in Limerick that is to be opened.
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