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Celebs cycle their hearts out... all for teen cancer victim Marc

SPORTS stars, celebs and gardai will be battling through "hail, rain or snow" this afternoon to raise vital funds for a teen cancer victim in an epic 24-hour St Stephen's Green cycle.

Some 48 cyclists will pedal round the clock on a tandem ride around the Green, starting this afternoon.

The challenge is to raise money for life-saving treatment for Marc Owens.

Marc (19), from Drumcondra, Dublin, was diagnosed nearly two years ago with a rare form of cancer.

The disease requires specialist treatment in the US, with transport and treatment costs expected to hit €1m.

So far more than €450,000 has been raised. Former Irish rugby internationals Frankie Sheahan and Neil Francis, with Today FM stars Ray D'Arcy and Matt Cooper, start proceedings this afternoon and will be joined by garda members and the public.

The final hour-long lap of honour will be taken up by rugby star Ollie Campbell and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Andrew Montague.

"Various members of the public are all doing an hour each, starting at 1pm on Thursday and finishing at 1pm on Friday," spokesman Cormac Bradley told the Herald.


But anyone who is in the area and wants to join in with their own bike for moral support is welcome to do so, he added.

The route of the tandem cycle travels right around St Stephen's Green, but stays away from the Luas tracks, diverting down Cuffe Street, Mercer Street and York Street. The target for each rider is €1,000. Marc was hit by stage IV soft tissue sarcoma in his final year at Belvedere College, Dublin.

There are fewer than 200 known cases in the world.

Marc's primary care was undertaken by Professor Desmond Carney and his team in the Mater Hospital and in December 2010 he was referred to the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, Texas -- the only place in the world where he could receive the treatment he so badly needs. In February 2011, Marc underwent a 20-hour operation to remove over 400 tumours from his body.

In the months since then, there have been many complications, but the family say Marc is doing remarkably well.

He is currently studying for a business degree at Dublin City University.

More information can be found at marcowensmedicalfund.com