But Mike O’Shea says his latest back-breaking charity challenge to push and pull a vehicle for 10 consecutive days on a 355km route from Dingle to Dublin, to raise funds to purchase a children’s ambulance, could be his toughest yet.
The first stage of the challenge got under way early yesterday morning, as between 25 and 30 volunteers — led by Kerry native O’Shea — were faced with heaving the converted Robin Reliant up the twisting Conor Pass — the country’s steepest mountain route — before making their way to Camp in Co Kerry.
Organisers of the aptly-named ‘BUMBLEance Mega Push’ hope to raise €250,000 to fund the purchase and running of their second customised and interactive ambulance, designed to transport seriously ill children for free and in a fun environment from all over Ireland to hospitals, respite centres and hospices.
The team are scheduled to arrive in Dublin on September 20, where they have set themselves another gruelling challenge — to participate in the Dublin mini-marathon by again heaving the vehicle across the entire distance of the race route.
The event is the brainchild of Tony Heffernan, CEO of the Saoirse Foundation, who tragically lost both his daughter Saoirse and five-year-old son Liam to Battens disease.
Poignantly, Liam had his very own so-called ‘Angel trip’ — a term used to describe the last trip home for a terminally ill child — in the Saoirse Foundation’s only BUMBLEance in May this year, just before he lost his battle with the incurable disease.
Speaking ahead of the challenge, O’Shea said he was ready to push his body to the ultimate limit to raise enough funds to purchase a second BUMBLEance.
He said: “I had no hesitation in getting involved in this when I found out what it was for. There’s one BUMBLEance at the moment and it’s in huge demand. Last year it did about 140 runs all around the country and this year it’s been even busier. There’s just one vehicle covering the whole country.”
However, O’Shea admitted that this “is as physical a thing as I’ve every done before. We could be pushing the BUMBLEance for between eight and 10 hours a day
For more see www.bumbleance.com