A “crazy cycling challenge” has provided much-needed support to a young Galway toddler who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Little Mia Allen was given no hope of survival when born, but today the Connemara youngster continues to defy the odds and is preparing to celebrate her third birthday on July 29.
As part of the on-going treatment Mia needs, a group of 26 cyclists, including two on a tandem, completed their East to West Cycling Challenge in aid of the Mia Allen charity - misashope.ie The group, which boasted cyclists from Poland, Belfast, Limerick, Tipperary, Clare, Offaly and Galway, set off from Rosslare Harbour at 7.30am bound for Spiddal. Aided by a south easterly wind, the group made it to Spiddal in record time - completing the 200 mile cycle in 10 hours and 39 minutes.
Organiser, 64-years-old John Behan, says the tailwind which propelled the group through Leinster and up mountain terrain known “The Cut” was a bonus, before “freewheeling” through Connacht and into Spiddal where Mia welcomed them home.
Behan is no stranger to cycling challenges. He has completed the “Arklow to Achill”, “Mizen Head to Malin Head” and “32 Counties/32 Hrs”, helping to raise thousands of euro for charities such as the Wheelchair Association and Council for the Blind.
The latest challenge helped raise more than €10,000 towards Mia’s on-going medical treatment.
Mia, who was born eight weeks prematurely, had to be resuscitated because she had respiratory distress, acute renal failure, and little brain activity. At the time her parents Barbara and Séamus were told there was no hope for her, yet Mia continues to achieve many milestones not thought possible.
Helped by several fundraising efforts from her community, Mia has undergone stem cell treatment in China, but she still requires 24/7 care and intensive physiotherapy. Although some is provided by the Brothers of Charity in Galway, most of the physiotherapy is paid for privately by the family.