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Survivor Gerry behind cancer cycle and run

Gerry and Kay Byrne getting all ready for Sunday's Charity Cycle and 5k.

Gerry and Kay Byrne getting ready for Sunday’s Charity Cycle and 5k.

BALLYBOFEY man, Gerry Byrne, has organised a 35 mile cycle and 5k fun run this Sunday for two cancer charities.

Gerry has faced up to the challenge of cancer, and from personal experience, knows the tremendous asset both Cancer Care West and the Good and New Cancer Bus have proven for the people in Donegal.

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He says he had his ‘eyes opened’ as a patient when he discovered just how much these charities were supporting cancer suffers in this area on a daily basis, without any funding whatsoever from government or any of the statutory agencies.

“On one particular day the bus had 21 people from Donegal going to Galway for treatment,” he explained.

“They had to leave their families and stay away for the duration of their treatment and this can have a traumatic effort for all, particularly where someone may be caring for relatives at home.

“In one case I know of, a daughter had to take her elderly mother who was in her care with her to stay in Galway while she was having treatment. Not only does this cause stress to all, but there are financial implications in circumstances like these and not everyone would be able to go and avail of the treatment if it were not for the services provided by the two charities.”

The bus has provided a valuable and essential service to the many cancer sufferers from all over the north-west who have to travel to Galway for treatment.

However, Mr Byrne said, the Good and New charity does not receive any funding and depends solely on the kindness of those who donate or organise various events as well as the income generated from the Good and New Charity Shop in Letterkenny.

It takes up to €1,000 per week to keep this bus running and the service to date has helped almost 600 people since it started in 2009.

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Cancer Care West is dedicated to providing support to anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis in a safe, nurturing and accessible environment.

It aims to provide an holistic service that complements medical treatments through the provision of residential accommodation and support services.

Its priority it to equip all they meet with the practical and emotional support the need to maintain peace of mind and quality of life.

The charity also provides cancer awareness and educational programmes and supports research into patient care.

This Sunday, September 4, people all over Donegal will get a chance to boost the much needed funds of these charities as Gerry has organised a 35-mile cycle and a 5k fun run – both events starting at the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar.

The cycle registration will take place with a bike sign in at 9am with participants leaving the centre at 10am.

The cost per bike is €10. The route will see them travel from Stranorlar, via Barnesmore Gap, over the Dearg Line back road across the border to Castlederg, on to Castlefin and returning to the Finn Valley Centre.

The fun-walk will leave at centre at 11am follow the local 5k circuit around the Twin Towns and entry fee for this is €5.

For more information, contact Gerry on 0876595754.

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