Emer Fogarty, Marie Reavey (IMNDA), Sandra Fox and Paul Lannon at the Cheque Presentation Night for the "D2K Goes West" cycle from Dunleer to Ballinasloe. The Event raised €81,476.28 for "Pauls Fight for Life" and IMNDA. Photo: Jenny Matthews.
There was a packed house in Shearman’s pub in Dunleer on Friday night last for the presentation of a very significant cheque to the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.
The cheque was a big one by any standards - €81,476.28 and it was all raised by 139 cyclists who cycled 200 kilometres from Dunleer to Ballinasloe in the D2K cycle which has been taking place every year since 2013.
It was Paul Grogan who came up with the idea to host a cycle to help raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease in honour of his good friend Paul Lannon who was diagnosed with the disease in 2011.
The cycle went from Dunleer where Paul lives with his wife Sandra to Kilkenny where he originated from and so the D2K idea was born.
The first D2K in 2013 saw 26 cyclists taking part and they raised over €12k. In 2014 the numbers grew to 70 cyclists and the amount they raised almost trebled to €34k.
By 2015 the numbers had grown to 112 cyclists and the fundraising to €39,020 and last year the growth continued and the 120 cyclists raised a mind blowing €56,656. This year the route was changed to Ballinasloe but they kept the D2K moniker.
This week Paul Lannon said that the event itself and the presentation night in Sherman’s were both hugely enjoyable.
“At this stage it’s like a big family outing” he told Drogheda Life. “We get experienced cyclists and people who’ve hardly ever been on a bike before – we call them “newbies” and they all help each other along.
“Everyone gets all the encouragement they need. One woman who had just turned 60 came out for the first trial run but she had to turn back after only 8k. A couple of months later though, she completed the full 200k over the weekend of 10/11 June.”
“People get a great personal reward from completing something as positive as this even if it is a big challenge. The charity makes some badly needed funds so it’s definitely a win, win situation.”
Paul thanked all of the cyclists who took part, the small army of volunteers who took on different roles in a support capacity and also to the many sponsors of whom there were many the main ones being Halfords and Industrial & Farm Machinery, Dunleer.