Doting father’s ‘crusade’ for daughter with CF

A SHANNON man is to cycle across the country throughout the night to make the starting line for this year’s Dublin City Marathon to run 26 miles.

The inspiration for Kieran McCarthy’s TLC Crusade is his three-year-old daughter, Aoihheann who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) over 16 months ago.

The TLC Crusade involves him swimming 120 lengths of his local pool before setting off on the 230km cycle to Dublin where he aims to be arrive one hour before the start gun in this year’s marathon.

His wife Sinead said yesterday: “Kieran has always been determined but Aoibheann’s diagnosis made him even more so. He is doing this for her and her future.”

Sinead remembers what she calls the “total heart- ache” when told of Aoibheann’s diagnosis: “I was scared mostly for her and what she would have to go through. It never goes away, she will have to live with her condition every day and I wondered how she would cope with that, especially as she gets older. But, so far, she is doing great.

Kieran recalled: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was like a big wave had just hit me and I was trying to steady myself. I felt so many things at once but the biggest thing was fear. Fear of what might happen to Aoibheann, fear of what we were going to be told next, fear of what lay ahead. The fear never goes away but you have to put it to one side and focus on the present, let tomorrow worry about itself,” he said.

Sinead added: “The only way to cope with something like this is to get on with your life, do everything you had intended on doing as you intended to do it and fit the CF into the picture, don’t let it be the focus. All the dreams that I had for Aoibheann when we first had her are still there, we may need to go about things a bit differently, that’s all.”

CF is Ireland’s most life-threatening inherited disease. Around one in 19 people are carriers of the CF gene and where two carriers parent a child together, there is a one in four chance the baby will have CF.

Monies raised from Kieran’s TLC challenge will go towards the TLC4CF fund and the Clare Crusaders charity that provides a range of therapies for Aoibheann.

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