Photo Caption - participants in the ‘Celtic Crossing Challenge’ are (l-r) Michael Kelly, Phil Shields, Adam Lowry, Eamonn McKenna, Johnny Dick, Max Joyce – Cahal Murray is in the kayak
Specialist Rescue Team all Fired Up for ‘Celtic Crossing Challenge’ to Raise Money for Charity
Nine Firefighters from the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Specialist Rescue Team are all fired up for the challenge of their lives to help raise money for CLIC Sargent’s ‘Homes from Home’ appeal.
From the 26 to 29 May the Firefighters aim to blaze their way to the top of Ben Nevis in Scotland, cycle to the Mull of Kintyre, kayak across the North Channel of the Irish Sea to Cushendall, continue their cycle to Belfast then onto Newcastle and finally ascend Slieve Donard – all in only four days.
Known as the ‘Celtic Crossing Challenge’ this ambitious venture has never been completed before. So far the team have raised £2,000 towards their ambitious £20,000 target. The money will go towards the ‘Home from Home’ appeal to build two new houses in Belfast within walking distance of each hospital. These houses will be used by families when their child or a young person is undergoing treatment for cancer. This accommodation will ease the financial burden for families during this difficult and very worrying time.
Max Joyce, Assistant Group Commander, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service and event organiser said:
“15 years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully I had a quick operation, embarked on a course of radiotherapy and have fully recovered. While going through one radiotherapy session nurses asked if a three year child suffering from cancer of the face could go before me in the queue for radiotherapy.
“The child was terrified because he had a plastic mask over his face, had to be restrained, put into a dark room and left alone to receive his treatment. It was heart wrenching watching this - difficult for a grown up to go through never mind a young toddler. That day I vowed that once I was better I would get involved with CLIC Sargent to help in some way to help make life a little easier for these brave kids and their families.
“Members of the team have been training really hard since the January 2012. During this time the cry has often been heard “Who’s stupid idea was this?!” - this was certainly uttered more than a few times after a particularly character building thirty five mile cycle and ascent and descent of Slieve Donard in March. “We must be clinically insane” was also said in anger when paddling on the Quoile River, Downpatrick on a dark January evening in minus two degrees. We know this is a massive challenge for us but we are up for it and we are encouraging as many people as possible to support us so we can go all the way in reaching our £20,000 target. This will make a real difference to the appeal and will help these families when they need help the most.”
Teresa Sloan, Appeal Director at CLIC Sargent said;
“On average, families in Northern Ireland have to travel 95 miles, up to five times a week to access the cancer treatment they need for their sick child. This puts a big financial strain on the family with the cost of travel and possibly temporary accommodation while their child is undergoing treatment.
“That is why we have launched an exciting Appeal to build two Homes from Home close to the two main Belfast hospitals so that we can ease this financial and emotional burden on families at an already difficult time. All of the money raised through this amazing challenge will help to make that a reality, so we are very grateful to the team at Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service”
Every week two children and young people in Northern Ireland are told they have cancer, and diagnosis usually comes as a shock. Treatment normally starts straightaway and can last up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children in the UK.
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people. It provides clinical, practical and emotional support for young cancer patients and their families, from diagnosis onwards. For more information visit www.clicsargent.org.uk
Notes to editors:
1 – Itinerary
Day One (26th May) Ascend Ben Nevis, at a height of1344m - descend then cycle approximately 40 miles to Oban
Day Two (27th May) Cycle from Oban to the Mull of Kintyre approximately 100 miles
Day Three (28th May) Kayak from Mull of Kintyre to Cushendall Northern Ireland approximately 12 miles on the North Channel– cycle from Cushendall to Belfast approximately 49 miles
Day Four (29th May) Cycle from Belfast to Newcastle approximately 30 miles and finally ascend Slieve Donard - 850M
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