Friday 17 January 2020

Castletown cyclist Michael raises €6,500 for cancer charity

Tanya McKinney, Michael Kehoe, Linda Keating and Anne Kehoe
Tanya McKinney, Michael Kehoe, Linda Keating and Anne Kehoe

Simon Bourke

When Michael Kehoe began his cycle round Ireland's coastline to raise funds for the Marie Keating Foundation he had a conservative figure in mind, an estimated target which, with a bit of luck, he hoped to meet.

'I put €5,000 as my target on the fundraiser and I thought that was ambitious,' Michael admits before revealing the total sum raised through his efforts. 'I'm really happy to have raised almost €6,500, and its thanks to all the people in my local area who supported me and helped spread the word.'

Having lost his father to bowel cancer in 2013 and watched on as both his mother and sister endured their own struggles with the disease, Michael decided to put his skills in the saddle to good use. Starting from his Castletown home on April 5 he set out on what became a month-long cycle around Ireland in aid of the Marie Keating Foundation, a cancer information service which helps detect the illness in its earliest stages.

'I started in Wexford and went clockwise, down the Copper Coast, through Cork and Kerry, then up to Connemara, Mizen Head, down the Causeway Coast before finally heading for home,' he said. In all he cycled 2,235 km through 17 different counties.

Travelling solo, Michael paid for all of his own accommodation, staying in B&Bs and Airbnbs at the end of his days on the road. However, upon discovering the reason for his stay, some of Michael's hosts helped in their own special way. 'Lots of places were really good, when they heard it was for the Marie Keating Foundation they'd give me a discount. I was also able to raise awareness of the Foundation and what they do; if just one person I met along the way goes for a screening it'll have been worthwhile.'

Encountering the occasional storm along the way, Michael said the highlight of his journey, which officially ended on May 3 with his return to Castletown, came in the West of the country.

'The Céide Fields in Mayo were amazing, the scenery was incredible. But coming home was really nice too; I came over the Wexford Bridge, onto the quay and that was my first sight of home, someone even beeped at me and shouted encouragement out the window,' he said.

For now Michael says he's content to return to normal life and relatively shorter cycles, but having previously cycled around America, Thailand and Vietnam he admits that this may not be the last time he undertakes a daunting challenge, whether for charity or otherwise.

Wexford People

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