NEXT month three amateur cyclists plan to embark on a gruelling non-stop cycle from coast to coast. Their aim is to leave Mizen Head in County Cork and arrive at Malin Head within 24 hours and to raise as much as they can to support Jigsaw.
The group is being led by Robert Kavanagh (48), who works as a sales representative with John McGlynn, Wholesaler, Letterkenny.
He has previously cycled the Malin to Mizen Head route in four days in 2014 and raised €10,500 for Jigsaw. He was back again twelve months later when they shaved a day off, cycling the route in three days and raising €10,250 for Jigsaw while last year it took Robert and the group two days, with €12,835 going to the local charity.
According to one route planner, it’s just shy of 630km to drive from Malin to Mizen Head and would take in or around nine hours.
“I know, I know. People think we’re mad but we’re doing this to raise much needed funds for Jigsaw Donegal and that’s a good enough reason for us,” Mr Kavanagh explained this week.
Jigsaw is an early intervention centre for young people (15 to 25 years) with mental health issues. Their Headquarters are based on the Pearse Road, Letterkenny while they also have out-reach centres in Carndonagh, Buncrana, Ballyshannon and Killybegs.
“Young people today are under many pressures that thirty years ago we ourselves did not have to deal with. The internet has proven to be invaluable phenomena but in many other ways it can be a very lonely and difficult place for young people.
“Unfortunately in today’s world social media is the main channel of communication for many of our young people and this can prove to be very difficult and challenging for them,” Mr Kavanagh said.
Mr Kavanagh will be joined on the cycle by Letterkenny businessman Seamus Morrison (48) and Cathal Wilson from Buncrana who works as a courier with Duffy Express Freight.
Another Letterkenny man Wesley Moore is looking after logistics and this year they will be joined by the ‘Donegal Ice Road Trekkers’ to take care of the support vehicles. Leslie O’Donnell and Denis Ferry will be joined by Gabriel Duffy and Michael Graham to complete the quartet.
“To date we have raised €33,000 over the three years. Our goal for 2017, which will incidentally be our last year, is to bring this figure to €50,000. We as a group are self-funded and over the course of this project we have always paid our own expenses
“Every cent raised goes directly to Jigsaw. Each year we have requested that our donation goes directly to the salary of a clinical person as this is the only way they can keep waiting lists to a minimum. The more clinical people they have the smaller the waiting list which is most important in this delicate environment,” Mr Kavanagh said.
This year’s fund-raising events include a Bag pack at Dunnes Stores, a leisure cycle at Burt Hall, on Sunday, May 21 and a charity car wash at Sweeney’s Spar service Ballyraine on Saturday, May 27.
“I would also like to thank our sponsors without whom this project would never have got off the ground. We are deeply grateful for the belief they have shown in us and are forever grateful for the contributions they have made to Jigsaw Donegal,” he said.
Gold Sponsors top date include Top Oil Ireland, McDonald’s restaurant, Letterkenny, Kernan’s Spar and Right Price Cars, Dublin while Aurivo are listed as Silver sponsors.
The cyclists plan to leave Mizen Head on Saturday, June 10 at 1pm and hope to arrive in Malin Head sometime in the afternoon on Sunday, June 11.
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