READY, SET, GO: Members of the Tangney family, Christine, Susan and Siobhan with Denis Geaney, organiser and ‘Team Geaney’ cyclists, support crews Sergeant Gearoid Keating, and Garda Donncha O’Brien, ready to set off on the Ring of Kerry Cycle fundraiser for Gene Tangney, in aid of University Hospital Kerry ICU unit. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan
By Michelle Crean
Although frail and in need of more rehabilitation and ongoing treatment, Gene Tangney from the Black Valley was finally released on Friday evening last after four long months battling the horrific effects of COVID-19.
And it was an emotional day for him and his family to finally get him home after being placed in an induced coma and ventilator to assist in his breathing for three months.
However, although still frail from his battle, a determined Gene bravely took some time the following day to briefly meet cyclists who were returning from a fundraising charity cycle for the ICU department in UHK in his honour.
On Saturday morning, before they set off from the Gleneagle Hotel on the Ring of Kerry cycle, Denis Geaney and his ‘Team Geaney’ were thrilled when greeted with the amazing news from the Tangney family.
“Honestly this was the most enjoyable charity cycle in all my 37 years of the event,” organiser Denis Geaney said.
“The HSE and Government restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic didn’t deter our team and amazing Tangney family of raising money and lifting peoples’ spirits. For Gene this was so important, and receiving the wonderful news on Saturday morning, there were so many reasons to sing and dance our way around the Ring of Kerry. The kindness and hospitality shown by everyone, from the Red Fox Inn in Glenbeigh, The Market House in Cahersiveen, Brendan and Carmel Galvin from the Siopa Dubh in Castlecove, and Patrick O’Donoghue of the Gleneagle Hotel, was just incredible. The support crew, Jimmy O’Callaghan, Ned Buckley, Connie Hurley, Declan Tangney, O’Sullivan’s Bike Shop, Chris Manton, the musicians Mike Cronin and Mike Doyle. We are so grateful to Sergeant Gearoid Keating and Garda Donncha O’Brien who kept us safe on the roads.”
The cycling singers attracted much attention in Coomakista, set dancing with bikes, notably Batt O’Sullivan and Derry Healy. The sing-song continued to the Siopa Dubh in Castlecove with Carmel Galvin giving a rendition of the ‘Rose of Tralee‘ and dancing with Seanie ‘The Gentleman Farmer’ O’Donoghue. There was more singing and dancing in Sneem, before the last stop at Moll’s Gap, followed by a heroe’s welcome home at the INEC, Killarney.
Gene, together with all the Tangney family, especially his son Feidhlim and daughter Fiadhna, his sisters Siobhan, Susan, Irene, Mary Rose, brother Derry, nieces and nephews, Gary, Christina, Claire, Michelle and Sinead, are so grateful to the medical team and hospital staff in UHK and the 100,000 friends and well-wishers who lit candles in solidarity with Gene on Easter Monday night at 9pm. It kept them all going throughout his long ordeal.
So far, the fundraising effort has raised close to €20,000 and is still rising for University Hospital Kerry’s (UHK) ICU department. To donate to the GoFundMe: Gene Tangney cycle for UHK I.C.U. The page will stay open until the end of August.