Cycle the Wild Atlantic Way for charity

15 July 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth


This week 7 cyclists of all shapes and ages will take on a 675km challenge through the Wild Atlantic Way from Galway to Cork to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

One of the riders, London-born Ryan Willmott (who is married to Karen McSweeney from Montenotte Cork), sadly lost his mother Brenda to MND in 2013. Having seen first-hand how horrendous the illness truly is, and how vital support and research are, his family set up the Brenda Willmott charity tribute fund. They have so far raised over €15,000, with all proceeds going to support to those living with MND in Ireland and the UK.

The 5 day cycle is being undertaken by Ryan himself, along with Paul English from Montenotte, Seamus Murphy from Farran, Pat McSweeney from Rathpeacon and Bruree Co Limerick, Mike Leavy from Dublin, and Olly Dashwood, John Kennelly and Ryan Woodford-Kelffrom are flying in from London.

Each day the cyclists will travel approximately 140km. Day 1 they will cycle from Galway to Kilkee Co Clare; Day 2 takes them from Kilkee to Dingle Co Kerry; Day 3 goes from Dingle to Waterville; Day 4 from Waterville to Inchigeelagh Co Cork and finally, the last stretch is from Inchigeelagh to Cork City on Sunday 19th, and the group is expected to arrive at The River Lee Hotel at 4.30pm.

Commenting on his fundraising cycle, Ryan Willmott said, “People living with MND and their families face many challenges and it is important that they can get access to vital support and care when and how it is needed. We saw first-hand how cruel this disease is, and how vital support is. I hope you will find it in your heart to donate to our cause – it will make a huge difference to anyone that is affected by this awful disease. Funds raised will also importantly aid vital research that will hopefully one day will find a cure. I would like to sincerely thank my friends who have trained hard and given up a week of their time for this cause that is so close to my heart.”

MND is a progressive disease that attacks the motor neurones or nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Degeneration of the motor neurones leads to weakness and wasting of muscles causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. MND can affect any adult at any age and it is an incurable disease. It is rapidly progressive, fatal, and approximately half of people with MND die within 14 months of diagnosis

In Ireland, approximately 80 people develop MND annually.

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