Timo O’Sullivan, left and Ian O’Connell, both from Killarney, getting into the spirit of this year’s Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle 2019.
Their chosen charity – The National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin is one of the recipients of this year’s Charity Cycle.
Over 6000 cyclists will take to the famed Ring of Kerry 175Km route, for the 36th Annual Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle tomorrow (Saturday).
Both men are encouraging cyclists to slow down and enjoy the fun and scenery along the way. The inaugural ‘Triangle Dance’ part of the ‘craic’ at Coomakista pass – the infamous ‘breaking point’, is a new addition to the atmosphere on the day.
The National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) provides specialist rehabilitation services to patients from throughout Ireland who, as a result of an accident, illness or injury have acquired a physical or cognitive disability and require specialist rehabilitation.
It is 35 years since an accident at work, resulted in Timo O’Sullivan, sustained life changing injuries and leaving him wheelchair bound.
Timo is an avid angler, volunteer with many organisations in Kerry, and a wonderful advocate for wheelchair accessibility. Timo spent six months in the expert care of the NRH, recuperating from his injuries and being rehabilitated helped him cope with his new life. Speaking about his time there, he said “The treatment and the expert care and lifelong friendship I received from staff at the NRH, has enabled me to carry out every aspect of daily life to the fullest extent. 35 years on, and I am involved in many volunteer organisations in Killarney, beekeeping is my new passion”
Ian O’Connell, the inspirational Killarney teenager, who sustained serious injuries in a cycle accident two years ago, is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the National Rehabilitation Centre. Ian’s mantra ‘if you can’t stand up…stand out’ griped the nation, he now has over 42,000 followers on instagram, through which he offers online support to young people and their families with similar issues in their lives.
Ian continues to defy the odds, continuing his school and gruelling rehab every day.
This year’s charities include:
Aras Mhuire Nursing Home – Aras Mhuire endeavours to create a home environment and enhance the quality of life for their residents. Jimmy Deenihan will their ambassador this year
Cúnamh Iveragh – Cúnamh Iveragh supports children and young adults with special intellectual needs. Kerry football legend, Maurice Fitzgerald, is a proud ambassador for Cúnamh Iveragh and the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle this year.
Breakthrough Cancer Research – The primary aim of Breakthrough Cancer research is to implement funding and support for their phenomenal research into cancer treatments in Ireland. Former Olympian David Gillick is their ambassador this year for the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle
Kerry Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre – KRSAC provides professional, free and confidential counselling, information and support to those in need. Well known Irish journalist, Billy Keane, is an active ambassador for the centre this year.
Recovery Haven – Cancer Support House – Recovery Haven is a cancer support house which provides free cancer support services to the people of Kerry. Captain of the Irish Ladies Rugby Team and Recovery Haven Ambassador, Ciara Griffin, will be cycling the ring herself this year to raise vital funds for the cancer support house.