A woman who underwent treatment for aggressive cancers less than a year ago is cycling from Dublin to Killybegs to help others.
Siubhan Maloney Gallagher of Fintra was diagnosed with breast cancer and lymph node cancer in December 2014.
She had a mastectomy and chemotherapy, then underwent six weeks of radiotherapy at St James’s Hospital in Dublin. During her radiotherapy, she stayed at The Lodge in St Luke’s Hospital, Rathgar. Siubhan told the Democrat that she was very grateful for that opportunity. “Being so far from home and separated from loved ones at such a vulnerable time was very daunting.
“However, the hospitality and services I received at The Lodge were overwhelming and greatly assisted me and my family at such a difficult time.”
Learning that there is no government funding for The Lodge came as a shock.
“I found it very hard to believe that this vital facility is entirely funded by voluntary donations. From cancer patients like me, and their families and friends.
“Without the service The Friends of St Luke's provide, all patients living long distances from Dublin would have to find alternative accommodation with the added stress and expense this would incur.”
Having set herself a target of raising €5,000 and ensuring that every cent donated will go straight to St Luke’s, Siubhan hopes to help other patients find the same peace of mind she did at St Luke’s.
Although she wasn't much of a cyclist before her cancer, Siubhan was keen on staying fit. In fact, she joined her daughter Carol and son-in-law Aled in a 40m cycle and canoe challenge in Snowdownia in June 2014. She had cancer then but didn't know it.
“Last July, when I was home for a weekend, I thought to myself, 'If I could do that when I had cancer, what could I do without it?' I decided to cycle from St Luke's to Killybegs over two days. My oncologist went into shock, I think, when I said what I was planning!”
Siubhan started training in February and has been cycling five days per week.
She sets out on the 170m cycle on Friday and makes her way to Belturbet, where the owners of the Seven Horseshoes Hotel have kindly offered accommodation for the night.
She'll leave the next day at around 9.30 and pass through Garrison, Belleek and Ballyshannon to arrive in Donegal Town around 4.30pm and finish up at The Fleet Inn at round 7pm.
Her husband Owen and family, who will be keeping a careful watch on her along the route, are also planning “a wee celebration” for everyone at the Fleet Inn.
If you would like to support this worthy cause, text LUKE to 50300 to make a €4 donation, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Suibhan-Dublin-to-/Donegal-Cycle, sign up on one of the many sponsorship sheets in circulation or turn up to welcome her home.
PICTURED: Siubhan Maloney Gallagher of Fintra, who is cycling from St Luke's Hospital in Rathgar to Killybegs less than one year after receiving treatment for cancer, to raise funds for The Lodge at St Luke's.