When local heart and stroke charity Croí was approached some months ago about a proposed memorial charity cycle, little did anyone know just how big a fundraising event it would turn out to be.
Less than a year after Anthony O’Brien, a young man who was manager of the Corrib Oil service station and store in Ballinasloe, died suddenly from a heart attack, his wife, parents, friends, and neighbours came together to arrange a memorial fundraising cycle in aid of Croí.
The event, which took place in May this year, attracted more than 200 cyclists who cycled from Athlone to Galway, raising the phenomenal sum of €95,000. Such was the popularity of the young man and his family that support for the event was received from far and wide throughout counties Galway and Westmeath.
Anthony lived in Athlone with his wife Deirdre and their young daughter Ellie. His father, Kevin O’Brien, is originally from Killimor, Co Galway, and his wife Deirdre is a palliative care nurse who trained at Galway University Hospital.
In recognition of this enormous donation to the fight against heart disease and stroke, Croí hosted a reception at the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre last week where one of the patient support apartments at the centre was dedicated to the memory of Anthony O’Brien.
The naming ceremony was attended by both the O’Brien and Mannion families and members of the memorial cycle organising committee. Speaking at the naming ceremony, Croí chairperson, Kevin O’Reilly, paid tribute to all those who organised, participated in, and supported the memorial cycle.
“This has been a phenomenal fundraising effort involving hundreds of individuals from all walks of life and the funds raised will make a very real difference to our work in the areas of prevention and recovery,” he said. “We are deeply grateful to everyone who made this event the success it was.”