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#Blaming Paddy on St Paddy's Day

In the run up to Paddy’s Day, the two sisters behind the organisation of this year’s team endurance event #PedalThePeriphery 2024 are putting the fun into fundraising by calling on participants, their friends and family to get involved in ‘crazy’ outdoor activities and adventures under a #IBlamePaddy to raise money for pancreatic cancer research.

Andrea Harrower (50) from Dromara and Cathy Booth (47) from Hillsborough last summer cycled clockwise non-stop around NI taking in 480 miles in less than 48 hours, to fulfil Andrea’s husband, Paddy’s dying wish ‘to have something good’ come out of his terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis.  

It was the former Wallace High School PE teacher and endurance sports fanatic idea to challenge the sisters to #PedalthePeriphery of Northern Ireland in a major fundraiser for NIPANC.

Paddy had 14-weeks to live from diagnosis on Easter Sunday, April 17th 2022 to his death on July 24th the summer before last. Presenting late, his symptoms included indigestion and pain in the upper abdomen.

Cathy’s school friend of over 30-years, Natalie Wilson (40) also died of the disease leaving behind three young children. 

Keen for something good to continue to come out of the tragic circumstances, the sisters have turned their epic challenge into a legacy endurance event open to teams of two, four, six, eight and ten cyclists. Up to 30 teams can take part. You can register here

As St Patrick’s Day approaches and in the run up to the June event, Cathy and Andrea are once again encouraging participants, their friends and family and members of the public to get behind the teams to raise even more funds for pancreatic cancer research.

Andrea explained: “#IBlamePaddy came about when people found out he was terminally ill. Friends and family felt they had no excuse but to join him in some of the things he was doing just a few weeks before he passed away. Activities such as cold-water swimming, cycling and kayaking.

“Paddy would be secretly pleased the hashtag can be used by anyone fundraising to blame him on literally anything they do, to raise money and awareness for this important cause. This year we are once again encouraging people to fundraise by blaming Paddy for the life-affirming activities they will get up to.”

“Paddy was a sports fanatic himself. He was always quietly in the background and would support my own physical challenges, whether sorting out the logistics or with mindset and words. But his quiet presence spoke volumes.

“He wouldn’t have relished all the attention on himself for #IBlamePaddy but he would relish people getting out there and challenging themselves, whatever challenge means to them, in his name. He lived for and died for the benefit of everyone but himself.”

Here family friends of Cathy and Andrea talk about why they took part in #IBlamePaddy events and the benefits.

Gillian McCaughtry

Gillian McCaughtry (48), a family friend from Anahilt said: “I'm pretty renowned for saying it would take a miracle to get me into the sea in NI. Grey skies, freezing, raining, windy. Why would you? That was until Paddy got his diagnosis and in typical Paddy style, faced off to it by diving straight into the waves. #IBlamePaddy for showing me a healthy and invigorating way to deal with life’s cobwebs.”

Sheena Bradley and her daughter Cara ‘Do Donard’ for #IBlamePaddy

Sheena Bradley, a Humanist Celebrant who conducted Paddy’s funeral said: “My daughter and I recently climbed Donard on an icy day when it would have been easier to drink lattes in Café Maud’s.

“I’m glad we did it and should I find myself thinking I might not bother going for that jog, dip in the sea, hike or cycle, because it will be too hard or cold, I think of the photo of Paddy on his bike in the Alps on the front of the Order of Ceremony at his funeral.

“I think about his steely determination to not let cancer stop him doing the things he loved and then I do the thing, smile and say to myself #IBlamePaddy.”

Read more about #PedalThePeriphery 2024 HERE

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