As the recent spell of glorious weather drew to a close, around 50 cyclists came together in the Bluestack Centre, Drimarone.
There were two reasons for the gathering, the first of which was to mark Bike Week with a 5K Cycle. The other was to launch the upcoming Dublin to Drimarone Cycle. This is a major fundraising event which will contribute greatly to the local area in terms of healthcare, sport and community facilities.
Close to 60 cyclists have already signed up and are in training to cycle from Dublin to Drimarone next month. This is the second such event run by the Drimarone Community. A similar cycle in 2015 raised €21,000.
The main beneficiary for this year’s cycle is Hospice Care at Donegal Community Hospital which will get 60% of funds raised.
Palliative Care community nurse Liam Patton said: “We aim to provide the best quality care and to help people suffering from terminal illness and their families to have the best quality of life possible. Without fundraising such as this we would not be able to provide the service that we do.”
Mr Patton wished the cyclists all the very best of luck, adding: “Thank you for your commitment.”
Director of Nursing Susan Rose also with the participants well.
She then explained how money raised would be used in the provision of hospice care within the community hospital.
“Donegal Hospital over the last couple of years has tried to develop the palliative care aspect,” she said. “Demand is getting greater every day. We are trying to offer people from the local community the same care they would get in the hospice in Letterkenny or Sligo.
“Over the last number of years, the community has supported us so much. We have developed two rooms exclusively for that.”
Nurse Rose told those gathered that they now needed to buy new syringe drives costing €2,000 to €2,500 each. These devices are used to administer a range of medicines to palliative care patients.
“We are upgrading them now,” she said. “We could use four or five in the hospital each day.”
Nurse Rose thanked the Drimarone community for their generous support.
The remaining 40% of money raised will be divided equally between Drimarone Community Development and Letterbarrow Celtic FC.
Deirdre Meehan from Drimarone Community Development said the money would go towards getting resurfacing work done at the rear of the Bluestack Centre.
Denis O’Gorman from Letterbarrow Celtic FC said he was very pleased that the club was included.
“The cost of running a community football club is astronomical,” he said. “The money will go to development of the football fields, balls, gear etc. It will be very welcome.”
Fergus McGroary from the organising committee then gave an outline of the route for the three-day cycle. A T-shirt designed by Billy Kennedy which will be worn by cyclist during the event was unveiled. The graphic includes one of the cyclists from the previous Dublin to Drimarone cycle.
Mr McGroary also introduced Felix Jackson who will be on hand throughout the cycle for bike repairs and maintenance. He had plenty of advice for cyclists in their preparation and he encouraged them to contact him if they had any concerns during the next few weeks.
As well as the main event launch, the evening included a 5K cycle to mark Bike Week. Not only was this a chance to bring all the cyclists together for the first time, it gave younger family members the chance to join in.
Refreshments were served afterwards in the Bluestack Centre.
Mr McGroary thanked those who prepared the food. He also thanked Donegal Sports Partnership for sponsoring the evening.
The Dublin to Drimarone Cycle takes place on July 27, 28 and 29. This is an incredible undertaking, especially as the majority of participants are not regular long-distance cyclists. They are driven by the desire to give something back to the community by supporting the worthy beneficiaries.
All support and sponsorship will be greatly appreciated.
If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.