On the Saturday of this year’s May bank holiday, hundreds of people were due to take part in the annual Mayo Pink Ribbon Charity Cycle; however the arrival of the Covid pandemic meant the event couldn’t go ahead.
One man who was determined to keep the cycle alive was 23-year-old Charlie Gannon from Castlebar, who took on the challenge to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Research Institute by cycling 50km on a stationary bike at his home. A tough enough endeavour for any individual - but even more so for Charlie, who, after contracting Meningitis at the age of 11, had to have his left arm and leg amputated.
But further challenges lay ahead for Charlie and his family as his mother, Catherine, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Having seen his Mum fight and come through breast cancer, Charlie was motivated to take part in the now legendary, Mayo Pink Ribbon Charity Cycle, last year, on a tandem bike with his uncle, Peter Peyton.
The cycle takes place around Mayo in aid of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute, a voluntary charity which helps to fund a comprehensive breast cancer research programme at the Lambe Institute for Translational Research, NUI Galway led by Professor Michael Kerin.
Realising the impact the loss of funds this year would have on the charity, Charlie decided he was going cycling anyhow.
Using a prosthetic leg and arm and the support of friends and family, Charlie set out with the target of raising funds while completing the 50km cycle. “Obstacles are just something to be overcome,” says Charlie and he certainly did that by shattering his goal of €1,000 to raise €11,033 for the charity through his gofundme page.
An incredible young man, Charlie is now looking forward to his next challenge as he completes his final year of a Commerce Degree. His friends and family are in no doubt he will be a success with whatever he does in the future.