350km Lockdown cycle for CMRF
Three months have now passed since Ireland began its lockdown to flatten the curve of COVID19 cases. We are all staying home and the streets, motorways and shops are all quieter but behind closed doors there is a hive of activity going on. CMRF Crumlin supporters like Fiacre Goggin are doing whatever it takes to raise vital funds to ensure that little patients in CHI at Crumlin continue to receive world class care and treatment.
Father of two Fiacre is a Data Centre Manager with Intel. He is also a cycling enthusiast who has done annual cycles and fundraisers for CMRF Crumlin with his group of friends for the past 10 years.
“We have a history as a group of friends with CMRF for 10 years in memory of a little boy called Jack O'Donnell. A friend of mine lost his son 10 years ago and he spent a short stay in Crumlin in St. John's ward. Every year in his memory we've been doing a charity cycle for three days in June somewhere in the country,” says Fiacre, “so we pick a location and spend three days getting there across back roads and Mountain ranges. We also raise as much as we can through pub quizzes, etc.”
“This year is actually our tenth anniversary and of course during these strange times everything has been postponed. I just wanted to do something because I had booked the time off from work, and I thought I could do with the break anyway. To keep active and to do something. I had in the back of my head that it's not just us who have postponed - I'd say every event or most events are the same because they're group events. I just wanted to do something small - a kickstarter in memory of Jack. I think we will do something as a group later in the year.
Jack would now be the same age as my daughter, and Mark O'Donnell, Jack’s Dad, is a very close friend of mine. Support and fundraising becomes even more important when it's someone close to you. My own daughter Kate is now 14 years old, and I've an 11 year old boy Cian as well. I just think all voluntary fundraising initiatives are really important. As a group, organised by Mark, we have visited Crumlin hospital a couple of times and have been shown around the ward. That really makes it so real to us too. We see the need and the benefit of fundraising projects we have been a part of. Our fundraising concentrates on a designated piece of equipment each year that the hospital calls out as critically needed. The funding raised here will go directly to a project to fit out a multi-sensory room for TCU. The TCU cares for children with tracheostomies and other airways issues. The majority of these patients have prolonged hospital stays and many cannot leave the ward. Play is a vital part of their development while in hospital. At present TCU does not have an appropriate space for these children with complex needs to play safely."
For Fiacre adhering to the social distancing guidelines is the most important thing people can do right now to mind each other. Cycling is mainly an outdoor sport but Fiacre has enjoyed putting his cycling equipment to good use at home.
“I'm not a fitness freak, I'm just an outdoorsy active person. Being cooped up is quite the challenge. I'm doing the same distance that we planned to do, 350km and 3,000m climbing, just on my turbo trainer in my garage or out the back if the weather is OK,” says Fiacre, “my bike fits onto the trainer and I can use an app called Zwift. If I go up a hill in this virtual world I will feel the resistance of going up the hill as the trainer adjusts to that. So since I had the set-up, I said I would match what we were going to do in the real world with the virtual - which is 350km and 3,000m climbing.”
Many will agree that one of the biggest challenges of the pandemic, has been the lack of social human interaction. We all like the chat, jokes and slagging but with social distancing and restrictions we have lost some human connection.
“I suppose it's the comradery I would miss with the buddies on the road. Many kilometres will spin by as you're having a chat. There's a lot of comradery with a group of lads who I would know for many years and some only through these cycle trips,” says Fiacre, “so we would come together for this.”
Fiacre believes that everyone can do something to give back even during these uncertain times. However big or small it all makes a difference.
“I think everybody is capable if they set their mind to it, and give it a little bit of thought. I get a great self-satisfaction out of it - yes we're helping others and that is the primary goal but it's a personal achievement too and that is very important.”
Full details about Fiacre's 350km Lockdown Cycle, and how to donate can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fiacre-goggin