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A year after starting cancer care, Patricia is cycling 670km

Mammoth trek will help raise awareness

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Professor Arnold Hill, chairman of Breast Cancer Ireland, with Patricia Rowley and Brendan Sweeney, chairman of the Kilmacud Crokes fundraising committee

Professor Arnold Hill, chairman of Breast Cancer Ireland, with Patricia Rowley and Brendan Sweeney, chairman of the Kilmacud Crokes fundraising committee

Professor Arnold Hill, chairman of Breast Cancer Ireland, with Patricia Rowley and Brendan Sweeney, chairman of the Kilmacud Crokes fundraising committee

Just six months ago, Patricia Rowley underwent a double mastectomy following months of treatment.

Now she is ready to undertake a mammoth 670km cycle ride from Mizen Head to Malin Head in aid of breast cancer research, on Wednesday.

Breast Cancer Ireland is a major donor to the new state-of-the-art breast cancer centre on the grounds of Beaumont Hospital which opens on Friday.

The new one-stop location for patients has a range of facilities brought together under one roof in a bright, airy and welcoming environment and its opening was made possible due to long-standing and consistent fundraising support.

But as one in nine women and one in 1,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, research into the disease is ongoing and continued fundraising is vital.

Patricia (60) is keen to raise funds and awareness for others who are going through the same thing.

“Having come through a full year of breast cancer, surgery and successful treatment, I am so happy to be where I am today – and to be in a position to take part in this wonderful event,” she says.

“In fact, it will be exactly one year to the day since I walked into my very first oncology appointment – and the fact that this year on the same date, I’ll be heading off with 90 friends and members of Kilmacud Crokes on a 670km cycle to raise funds for both Breast Cancer Ireland and our club, makes me incredibly humbled and grateful.”

Fellow cyclist Paul Gallagher has been taking part in the race since he was instrumental in setting it up a decade ago, after losing his beloved wife Marie to breast cancer in 2007.

He felt the challenge was not only a fitting way to honour her and the medics who took care of her, but also a great way to raise funds for a very worthy cause.

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“Having been involved in previous fundraising events I just happened to mention to a few of my pals that I would like to give something back to the (breast cancer research) cause because of the way Marie had been looked after by the medical teams and the fact the disease touched so many of our loved ones.

“So we initially decided to try the Snowdonia (cycle) challenge in Wales, which although it looked very challenging, I suggested we should give it a go,” he said.

Weighing more than 18 stone at the time, the father of three had never been on a bike before and spent many long weeks and months training for the event.

But having lost weight and drastically improved his fitness, he and 12 others completed the race and went on to participate again the following year, before deciding to set up the Mizen 2 Malin Cycle Challenge in 2012. Together with a group of friends from Kilmacud Crokes, he has participated in every race since.

This year is the first since the pandemic that the cycle will take place and he is itching to get going.

“I’m looking forward to getting going and have so many wonderful memories and experiences from previous cycles, including meeting so many friends and seeing the fabulous scenery along the route.

“But most important of all is the effort everybody puts in to make the event a great continued success contributing to the cause of Breast Cancer Ireland and Kilmacud Crokes.”


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