Almost 200 cyclists leave Maynooth for Galway today

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Almost 200 cyclists leave Maynooth for Galway today

The cyclists are on the way to Galway

Almost 200 cyclists left Maynooth University early this morning on a 200 km journey which will see them pedal to Galway in a bid to raise €120,000 for the charity Friends of the Coombe to enable it to help the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital develop hospice-style bereavement suites to create a family-friendly home away from home for bereaved parents.

Since it was first established in 1987 by a group of students at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the annual Galway Cycle has covered more than 12,000 kms of road and raised in excess of €1.5 million for a host of children’s charities.

This year’s charity partnership was inspired by the story of baby Tom Fahey who died of an uncommon chromosomal abnormality when he was just 11 days old.  And it was the compassionate care that baby Tom and his family received from the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital that moved Maynooth-based mum and dad Sarah and Terry Fahey to nominate the charity for this year’s Galway Cycle partnership.

President of the Galway Cycle, sociology and geography student at Maynooth University, Ciara Keogh said that the enthusiasm of volunteers and supporters alike over the last number of months has been both incredible and humbling.

“Today is the culmination of months of hard work, not just on the part of the Galway Cycle 2018 committee, but also the almost 200 cyclists and supporters who have been engaged in a host of training and fundraising activities,” she said.

“We may have a 200 km road ahead of us, but we also have a weekend of fun, friendship and fundraising in aid of a cause that has captured all our hearts over the last number of months.”

Baby Tom’s parents Sarah and Terry Fahey said it was an honour to be able to support Friends of the Coombe.

“We can hardly believe that the weekend has arrived,” said Sarah Fahey.

“We have been so warmly embraced by the Galway Cycle family, all of whom have been so supportive of us and of Friends of the Coombe. We will never forget the care Tom and we, as a family, received from the staff at The Coombe.  They played such an important role in Tom’s life.  They cared for us and supported us.  They shared our journey,” she said.

Ailbhe Gilvarry, chairperson of Friends of the Coombe said that the charity is indebted to the Fahey family for nominating Friends of the Coombe for this partnership. “It has been a privilege for us to work alongside the Galway Cycle committee over the past number of months,” she said.

Having cycled the 200 km to Galway today, cyclists will take to the streets of Galway tomorrow to shake collection buckets and entertain shoppers before heading back to Maynooth on Sunday morning.

Those who would like to support the Galway Cycle and the Friends of the Coombe bereavement project they should visit www.galwaycycle.ie for more details.