Achill Island native, Michael D. Gallagher, will cycle from Mizen Head to Malin Head and from Sean Moore Park in Dublin’s Docklands to Keem Bay in Achill Island in memory of his niece Tilly Gallagher who died in 2018.
The cycle, which will be known as “Tilly’s Cycle” will cover over 950km and will start on Monday 14th June and conclude at Achill’s picturesque Keem Bay on Friday 18th June.
Speaking at the launch of Tilly’s Cycle, Michael explained what motivated him to undertake such a mammoth undertaking:
“My niece Tilly was born in Perth in 2018 with Down syndrome. Like many others, she required an operation to fix a hole in her heart but unfortunately, 10 days before she was due her operation, she picked up a respiratory infection and passed away from complications.
“Ever since, I have had it in my mind to honour her memory in some way. When I heard about Down Syndrome Ireland developing a new Regional Centre in Swinford called Down Syndrome Ireland West, I figured this was the perfect opportunity. All the funds I raise will go towards fittting out a sensory room in the new centre.”
“Having lived in Leitrim for many years now I am the chairperson of the Leitrim Cycling Club and have received enormous support from my club mates there. I’m passionate about cycling but am under no illusion about the difficulty of the task that lays ahead. Saying that however, I’m really looking forward to the challenge but more so looking forward to seeing the blue water and golden sand of Keem Bay on Friday 18th June.”
Tilly’s parents Barbra & Ciaran said that Tilly’s cycle, 3 years after her passing, highlights the lasting impact Tilly has had on their family.
“For the 18 weeks that we had her with us she enriched all of our lives and taught us what it is to be brave, strong and content in each moment. She taught us how to dig in and battle to the end, how precious life is, how we need to savour each moment.”
“So many people helped Tilly; and us as a family; over the months Tilly was sick, and in the years that have followed. We are so lucky to have fantastic family and friends who have rallied behind us when we needed support. We are forever thankful to the wonderful staff in Perth Children Hospital and we will never forget the compassion and kindness showed by all of these people.”
“In remembering Tilly, Michael is helping so many others. We are so proud of Michael and the massive effort he is putting in, on and off the road. Tilly would be so proud of her uncle.”
Ronan Brett, Chairman of Down Syndrome Ireland West said:
“We are so grateful to Michael for raising vital funds to help us build a sensory room for children with Down syndrome in our new regional facility in Swinford, Mayo – Down Syndrome Ireland West. The centre will be a resource for babies, children and adults with Down syndrome across Connacht.”