A 32-year-old Dubliner whose partner died just days before her wedding will cycle 200km to her grave this weekend to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society.
evin Cullen has raised €28,000 for the charity ahead of the two-day cycle, which begins this Saturday in Walkinstown, County Dublin, and ends in Dungarvan, County Waterford, where his late fiancee Aoife O’Donovan was buried.
Ms O’Donovan was diagnosed with a rare type of cervical cancer in 2020 and died in May this year, days before her wedding and 31st birthday.
“When Aoife was sick, I spent a lot of time just thinking about cancer and doing everything. And after she died, I thought I’d put my energy to good use and raise some money for a good cause,” Mr. Cullen said.
“So I had a chat with friends and we decided to do a charity cycle. We thought it would keep us busy and fit, but at the same time I could raise a lot of awareness about cervical cancer.”
Ms O’Donovan has been a strong advocate of swab testing but also wanted to raise awareness of how to spot other symptoms or signs that something is wrong – the main one being irregular bleeding.
Her close friend Emma Dempsey said: “Aoife was a type of cancer that doesn’t show up in swab tests.
“It shook every woman I know because we assumed that if we just swabbed we would be safe. We are so much more aware now that we need to look out for other symptoms, the main one being irregular bleeding, even small amounts, which women get and reject from time to time.”
Eight people will start the cycle with Mr. Cullen, but by the time they reach Abbeyside Church, 15 people will accompany him across the finish line.
The cycle starts at 10am on Saturday and pauses for a night in Carlow. On the second and final day he covers 120km to Dungarvan.
“Everyone has had experiences with cancer. If I went through all my friends, they would have lost a relative to cancer and it would have affected them in some way. It’s a cause that is very close to everyone’s hearts,” said Mr. Cullen.
“This is the first and possibly the last trip. When I was 12, I had a bike and rode my bike around the neighborhood. But this is definitely a first for me.
“I think we’ll see how it goes. At the moment we have raised €28,000 for the Irish Cancer Society and I don’t think I could ever top that.”
Anyone who would like to support Mr Cullen can donate on his GoFundMe page and cheer him on Sunday at 5pm at Abbeyside Church in Dungarvan, Co Waterford.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/dubliner-cycling-200km-to-fiancees-grave-to-raise-funds-for-the-irish-cancer-society-41948848.html Dubliner cycles 200km to his fiancee’s grave to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society