Transplant hero's bike stolen before ROK Cycle

Sean Marshall (centre in orange high-visibility jacket) has been left 'sickened' by the theft of his bike five days before the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle

Marisa ReidyKerryman

A Kerry Transplant Games athlete who was due take part in the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle this Saturday has been left 'sickened' by the theft of his bike five days before the event.

Sean Marshall from Kilflynn was due to take part to raise funds for the Irish Kidney Association, having himself undergone a life-saving bone marrow transplant in 2009, when doctors gave him just eight months to live.

Sean spent seven months in hospital in Dublin between 2009 and 2010 after undergoing a lobectomy to remove two lobes from his lungs, as well as a bone marrow transplant that was his only chance of beating a rare form of cancer.

Four years later, the father of three proudly represented Ireland in the European Transplant Games in running, power walking, bowls and darts - a stunning achievement given that he struggled to walk 100 steps from his back door when at his worst.

This week, however, having prepared for his third Ring of Kerry Cycle, the Crotta Leisure Cycling clubman was left disgusted to discover the bike he had trained on for months had been stolen from his parked van in Tralee on Sunday night.

He had just collected the bike from a repair shop in the town after a service to ensure it would be in perfect working order for Sunday's event.

"It's not even about the value of the bike, because it's not that expensive - it's just that it's what I'm used to and what I've been training on," Sean told The Kerryman. "It's absolutely sickening but I have to pay tribute to the gardaí who have ensured they will examine CCTV from Edward Street where the van was parked."

Sean said that the culprits damaged the sliding door of the van taking the bike - a steel framed Graham Harris model.

Thankfully, Sean's brother Padraig has come to his rescue and offered him his bike for Saturday's event in what is now becoming somewhat of a habit.

It was Paudie who donated his bone marrow back in 2009 that ultimately saved Sean's life.

A SOUTH Kerry woman who lost her husband to cancer a year ago last weekend has paid tribute to everyone who helped her raise an incredible €35,000 for a number of cancer charities across Kerry.

Mary O'Donoghue from Cahersiveen lost her husband Francie this time last year and following his death she and her children pledged to do their bit to raise funds for some of the charities that helped him through his illness, while marking his 57th birthday at the same time.

The combination of online campaign and a hugely successful night at the dogs at Kindgom Greyhound Stadium back in January resulted in a massive €35,000 being raised and this week Mary and her family presented the money to the benefactors - the Oncology Unit at University Hospital Kerry, St Anne's Hospice Unit at Caherciveen Hospital, Kerry Hospice and Recovery Haven.

Speaking to The Kerryman this week, Mary paid tribute to all those who donated to the cause, saying she and her family have been genuinely overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Kerry and further afield.