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Bros pedal for cancer research

Wednesday, 31st July, 2019 4:26pm

A pair of Cork brothers are gearing up to take part in the oldest cycling event in the world this month.

Charleville natives Declan and Pat O'Hara will be pumping the pedals for the grueling 1,200km Paris-Brest-Paris challenge in an effort to raise funds for Breakthrough Cancer Research.

Declan and Pat lost their mother to cancer 30 years ago at the age of 52 and have been raising money for cancer research ever since.

Declan, who is the Managing Director of McElligott's Tralee, said: “This disease doesn’t just rob you of the person, it robs you of life experiences in your life that you can never imagine. There is a familiar void at every family event, family photos without a wife, mother of the groom or bride, without a granny, always missing that advice that only a mother can bring.

“We are just two ordinary brothers in our 50s and on 18 August we will depart Paris on this epic race route to Brest and back again which we must complete within a time limit of 90 hours.”

The Paris-Brest-Paris race was founded in 1891 and this month will be only the 26th time the event has ever taken place.

The brothers, who are personally funding the trip, will be joined by over 6,500 riders for the event which was started in Paris by Pierre Giffard, head of the Petit Journal newspaper, to demonstrate the practicality of the bicycle.

“The cancer that killed our mum 30 years ago would now be diagnosed much earlier and the treatments with that early diagnosis would today save her life,” said Declan.

“It’s because of Breakthrough Cancer Research that these advances are made and through funding these projects we can beat this devastating disease,” he added.

In order to qualify for the Paris-Brest-Paris cycle the brothers had to undertake a series of challenging events which took place around the world from June 2018.

Declan said: “We both have over 5,500kms cycled this year through just training and qualifying.”

He continued: “The toughest events are the 400km due to sleep deprivation. We’ve slept in barns, covered stands in GAA pitches, school yard sheds and doorways. I’ve suffered from hallucinations where I refused to cycle back down a road that we had just come up in the middle of night because I thought the road was full of angry dogs.”

The event takes place from 18-22 August and all money donated will go directly to Breakthrough Cancer Research.

Breakthrough Cancer Research is an Irish medical cancer research charity launched in 2011 to inspire and enable financial support for exceptional research into cancer in Ireland.

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