Westmeath locals are being urged to come out in force on Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24, to support a cycling challenge in aid of COPD Support Ireland.
The ‘Get Breathless for COPD’ charity cycle will run from Galway to Dublin, led by legendary cycling champion Seán Kelly.
COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is perhaps better known as bronchitis or emphysema, and is where the airways of the lungs are narrower than normal, leading to airflow obstruction and difficulty breathing. It is the fourth most common cause of death in Ireland after heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke.
The cycling challenge takes place across two days, with participants getting on their bikes in Galway on Friday, June 23, and travelling as far as Athlone, before hitting the road again for Dublin on Saturday, June 24. The challenge aims to generate awareness of COPD, while also raising up to €20,000 in much-needed funds for vital COPD services.
Renowned cycling champion, Seán Kelly, said: “I’m really looking forward to getting back in the saddle again for COPD Support Ireland and to joining a really enthusiastic gang of people keen to raise awareness of COPD. I’d encourage everyone to make themselves aware of the disease and the steps that they can take to minimise their risk by not smoking, by eating a healthy diet and by exercising for 30 minutes most days.
“And, of course, what better way to enjoy physical activity than to go out for a regular spin on a bicycle? It’s great for blowing out the cobwebs, for getting back in touch with nature, and for giving our lungs a good workout. Please come along and say hello if we are in your neighbourhood - we’d love to see you!”
Members of the public can lend their support by texting “COPD” to 50300 to donate €2.
For more information on COPD Support Ireland, call the COPD National Adviceline on (1800 ) 832146 Monday from to Friday between 9am and 5pm or visit www.copd.ie