Thousands to get on their bikes for Kerry charities

CYCLING enthusiasts have been urged to get on their bikes over the coming weeks in an attempt to help raise vital funds for a string of essential Kerry charities.

The call has been made by representatives of the annual Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Cycle, which provides key financial support every year to some of the county’s most important organisations.

Since the event began in 1983 it has managed to raise more than €3.5 million in funds for local groups, with €451,668 raised last year alone during the one-day cycle.

Previous beneficiaries have included Footsteps Down Syndrome and the Irish Society for Autism.

However, this year all funding will be shared between vital support groups Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club, Recovery Haven: Comfort and Care for Cancer, Enable Ireland Kerry, the Irish Wheelchair Association, the Kerry Parents and Friends Association, and the Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre.

To date, 2,200 people have signed up to participate in this year’s 180km leisure cycle on July 3, the largest one-day charity fundraising event in Munster.

Among the most high profile individuals set to don the cycle helmet is former Kerry GAA star, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, with members of the public considering following in his footsteps able to do so at www.ringofkerrycycle.ie until June 21.

Among the individuals who will benefit will be 15-year-old Orlaith Mangan from Killarney. Due to a condition known as holoprosencephaly, Orlaith’s brain did not develop into two hemispheres.

While most babies with the medical condition risk death in the early days of their life, Orlaith survived because she is in the mild category.

However, she is confined to a wheelchair and can only speak through a special piece of computer equipment.

Thanks to vital support provided by Enable Ireland, Orlaith has already reached second year in secondary school and, according to her mother Eileen, “has a better social life than me”.

This achievement, she added, would not be possible without the availability of vital funds for Enable Ireland and similar groups.

Urging people to take part in the major cycling event this summer, Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Cycle organising committee spokesman Cathal Walshe said those involved are confident last year’s fundraising drive will be repeated this July.

“This year we have chosen charities that do amazing work in our county and the need for funds is as great as ever,” he said.

As well as the six main charities, a further 15 Kerry organisations will also receive a donation from the cycle.

l ringofkerrycycle.ie

More in this section