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Clare cyclists going the length of country for cancer charities

A HARDY group of Clare cyclists will travel the entire length of the country next week, raising funds for cancer charities and commemorating two women who passed away in 2021.

In July of last year Ballyea’s Susan O’Neill died having battled cancer, and then in November Quilty’s Antoinette Pender also passed, having fought the disease bravely.

The cycle, entitled ‘South for Susan and Antoinette’, is in their memory and funds are being raised for Sláinte an Chláir and Cancer Care West.

The group of cyclists will make their way to Donegal this Sunday, before setting off from Malin Head on Monday morning on a gruelling challenge.

The Monday will see them cycle from Malin Head to Donegal Town; on Tuesday it’s Donegal to Claremorris; Wednesday is Claremorris to Ballyea; Thursday is Ballyea to Blarney and finally on Friday the cyclists will make their way to Mizen Head.

The starting point is Ireland’s most northerly point and the finishing its most southerly, with some 600 kilometres of road between them.

Susan’s husband Michael is taking part as is Antoinette’s husband Jamesie. Others taking part are Susan’s son Shane, Marie, Claire and Sheila Haugh (Coolmeen), Noel Keane (Kilmaley), Liam Duggan (Doora/Barefield), Michael Clancy (Lissycasey), Jason Ryan (Kilrush), Stevie Malone (Kilnaboy) and Martin O’Donoghue (Corofin).

Sláinte an Chláir is a voluntary organisation at Kilnamona and Raheen, Scarriff, which supports the people of Clare and their families affected by cancer.

It provides a range of supportive services and treatments from trained personnel that work alongside client’s medical treatment.

Services include counselling, lymphoedema management, nutritional advice, meditation, reflexology, Tai Chi, Arts & Crafts and much more. All services are free of charge and are reliant on fundraisers and donations.

In existence in one form or another since 1993, it was in 2007 that Cancer Care West opened its residential facility, Inis Aoibhinn at University Hospital Galway.

This was followed in July 2009 with the opening of a dedicated Cancer Support Centre at Westside, Galway.

Since then these two facilities have supported thousands of people affected by cancer.

It continues to expand the range of services that it offers and now includes things like a pscyho-oncology service, a patient and family support programme and support services for children.

Cancer Care West also provides training for oncology medical, nursing and hospital based staff, to support them in their work.

It funds a small number of patient focused research projects, and, in conjunction with NUI Galway, ten Hardiman Scholarship PhDs.

Like Sláinte an Chláir, it doesn’t charge for any of its services and relies on donations and fundraisers to pay for its services.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so by going to GoFundMe.com and searching for South for Susan & Antoinette. To date over €22,000 has been raised.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.