Ian sets off on trek of a lifetime
A Gorey man set off recently for the journey of a lifetime on his motorbike in aid of the Irish Cancer Society.
Ian Horan (26), from Ballycale, Gorey will journey 35,000km across Europe on his bike, a 17-year-old Susuki DR650, in a bid to raise €6,000 for the cancer society.
Ian decided to combine the adventure of a lifetime with the fundraising having lost his mother Olive to cancer when he was just ten years old and following the death of someone very close to him around three years ago.
Speaking before he set off Ian said that the trip has been three years in the planning and he is both nervous and excited about the journey.
Ian reckons the journey will take him between three and a half to four months to complete. 'But it could take a bit more', he said. 'My target is to get to Mongolia by July 11 but that might be a little optimistic.
Ian will be travelling solo on the epic trip carrying around 50kgs of luggage and some spare parts for his bike.
'My route will take me through 24 countries, seven different time zones, covering 35,000km and spending about four months on the road. I will be travelling through South-Eastern Europe; into Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and into Mongolia. Then returning through Russia, into Scandinavia, crossing the Baltic Sea into Germany, Belgium, the Uk and then finally back home to Gorey in September of this year.'
Ian is financially funding the trip himself to maximise the funds being donated to the Irish Cancer Society. 'This means that anything people donate will go directly to the Irish Cancer Society', said Ian. 'Just as importantly I hope my adventures can be used as a conversation starting point between friends, family members, professional colleagues, clubs and societies etc., to link in, and discuss issues such as the importance of health check ups and awareness. The emotional and physical support needed for individuals and families going through treatment, mental health awareness that is associated with cancer and just asking that simple question: What can I do to help?
'This event means a lot to me. I lost my own mother to cancer at the of age 10 when she was only 42 years old. With a family of four young children and a farm to run my father struggled on, losing more than just his other half. We were all robbed, I feel robbed of a childhood, memories I'll never have of my mother but mostly I feel robbed of a mother's love.
'My whole family suffered and as a 10 year old boy, the unexplainable, unfair and entirely incomprehensible process of watching my mother get sick, and then pass away was hard to deal with, much harder than most can think or imagine.
'Days and then years went by, and I've come to realise that it doesn't get any easier, you just learn to get on with life and to certainly make the most of it. As a result from my own personal experience of watching a loved one go through cancer, I decided to initiate this awareness and fundraising campaign to generate much needed proceeds for the Irish Cancer Society.
'They work across areas of research, caring and transporting of patients, counselling, public awareness, working on public policy and so much more. This all requires funding. With such funding - ideally in 10 or 15 years there will be a cure for cancer and the health concerns and devastating affect of cancer will be one less thing for our children to worry about. At present one in three people are affected by cancer in Ireland. The Irish Cancer Society is something that is so relevant to so many of us in society.'
Ian who works full time as a commercial diver with Wexford company Marine Specialists will be taking time out from his job to complete the trip. He said his boss has been very understanding and helpful about the journey and also in the time leading up to it as he was only able to work four days a week since January as he prepared for the trip.
Ian said he is eager to head off on the trip although he said his dad John is very nervous about it. But having planned the trip for the past three years Ian is glad to finally realise his ambition.
'This whole idea was conceived in 2012 while living in Australia. At the time I was in a black hole with depression, I had lost someone very dear to me in a hit and run. I had shut myself off from friends and there were days where I didn't see the point in living. I was so bogged down that to this day I'm not sure how I pulled myself out of it.
Not many people knew this but thankfully my friends stuck with me even though I pushed them away. The light at the end of the tunnel came in the form of a motorcycle, a Kawasaki Ninja.
'I had little to no experience on a motorcycle, but within a month I had my licence. It was just what I needed, A new love was born between man and machine. With that a few months down the line I had seen a video on YouTube of some random Polish guy heading off on a motorcycle trip to Mongolia. That was the moment I knew I wanted to do it, I didn't know much about Mongolia, but the vastness and the beauty of it intrigued me.
'I wanted to make the most of life because you never know when your time is up. .This gave me something to focus on.'
Ian who sat his Leaving Certificate at Gorey Community School said his brother John and sisters Alison and Audrey are supportive of his trip and along with his dad and friends will be keeping up to date with his adventures via his Facebook page, Roo Rides East, and his travel blog, www.roorideseast.com.
'Through Facebook and my blog I will be updating followers and donors on my various stopping places. I'll be posting photos and short videos, keeping everyone updated on all the different things I get up to along the way and finally you can follow how I'm doing on reaching my goal of raising €6,000.
Ian is also asking people to donate through www.justgiving.com/ianhoran with 100 per cent of all proceeds going to the Irish Cancer Society.