Four Laois lads are getting on their bikes on the opposite side of the world in aid of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Former Laois senior football captain Stephen Attride, along with Graiguecullen twins Conor and James O’Regan and St Joseph’s Michael Byrne, are all set to embark on the remarkable feat next month.
The quartet will cycle 100k from Sydney to Wollongong on October 10 in aid of IMNDA. They have already raised almost €4,000 – less than a week after the fundraiser went live.
The association is very close to Killeshin native Stephen’s heart as his dad Mark sadly passed away from the disease in 2015.
Mark was a lecturer in IT Carlow and was heavily involved in the local sports scene.
He was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in February of 2014 and he orgainsed a major fundraiser that year where almost €50,000 was raised for the Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association.
Stephen’s family kept Mark’s fundraiser alive with the Mark Attride Memorial Cycle – a yearly event which has gone on to raise thousands more for the charity.
But with Covid-19, the cycle could not take place this year in Ireland.
Hence Stephen, who emigrated to Australia last year, has come up with this fundraiser instead.
Speaking to LaoisToday, he explained: “At this time many charities are experiencing severe financial hardship due to the coronavirus and the cancellation of fundraising events, and this is undermining their ability to support vulnerable beneficiaries.
“The IMNDA is one such charity, they provide vital support to approximately 350 people in Ireland who have motor neurone disease, support that patients and families would otherwise not be able to receive.
“Over 80 percent of IMNDA income comes from fundraising.
“Any donations, big or small, are greatly appreciated.
“All support would be greatly appreciated and all funds raised will be going directly to the IMNDA.”
Stephen says the IMNDA were a huge support to his dad and his family.
Mark was an avid cyclist and Stephen says it will be great to keep his memory alive while also raising funds for such a great organisation by undertaking this 100 kilometre cycle.
Best of luck Stephen, James, Conor and Michael!