Pedalling Periphery of NI In Major Endurance Fundraiser for Two Loved Ones Who Died of Silent Killer - Pancreatic Cancer
Two sisters with a passion for endurance events will be using pedal power to cycle clockwise non-stop around the whole of NI in just two days to raise money for research and awareness about pancreatic cancer that claimed the lives of one sister’s husband and the other’s best friend.
Living with the grief of losing two loved ones, Andrea Harrower (48) from Dromara and her sister Cathy Booth (46) from Hillsborough, will on June 9th set out on an epic journey to pedal the periphery of the whole of NI taking in 480 miles in just 48 hours. Preparations are underway.
The idea for the challenge was approved by Andrea’s husband, Paddy Harrower just five days before he died. The former PE teacher from Wallace High School and sports fanatic had only 14 weeks to live from diagnosis on Easter Sunday, April 17th, 2022 to his death on July 24th. Presenting late, his symptoms included indigestion and pain in the upper abdomen.
Wanting something positive to come from the situation, Paddy backed his wife and sister-in-law’s plan to take on challenge in support of local pancreatic cancer charity NIPANC. The money raised will go to research in memory of Paddy and a school friend of Cathy’s, Natalie Wilson who died aged 40 from the disease, leaving behind three young children.
The Pedalling the Periphery event will start at the gates of Ormeau Park on June 9, where George Ezra will be playing at the Belsonic Music Festival in Belfast. Paddy adopted the singer’s uplifting Green Green Grass song during his illness. It was later played at his funeral.
The pair will be followed on the ride by a quirky, 1970s purple VW Beetle support vehicle. Paddy’s bike will be mounted on top and will make the journey alongside them. Purple being the colour associated with pancreatic cancer.
Andrea, a personal trainer said: “Cycling was so important to Paddy, his self-devised challenges, and other official events at home and abroad. He used the bike to get to work and on family holidays. During his illness, he set himself his own challenges as a reason ‘to get out of bed until the day he died.’ As a family, we and our two sons, Fraser (19) and Alex (15), and my sister and brother did a final ride out from home with him only a couple of weeks before he passed away. His motto was: “I’m not living with cancer, cancer is living with me and I’m taking it for a ride.”
During the two-day, clockwise cycle around NI, the sisters are adopting the NIPANC charity slogan #TimeMatters to continue raising public awareness about the need to understand the symptoms of the disease and seek early diagnosis and treatment. Time also matters in reaching route points and the finish line. A second hashtag, #IBlamePaddy is also being introduced to inject some fun into fundraising.
Andrea explained: “#IBlamePaddy came about when people started finding out he was terminally ill. Friends and family felt they had no excuse but to join in some of the things he was doing including cold water swimming and kayaking. I don’t think he realised the impact he had on people. He was a modest man who wouldn’t like too much attention, but we think Paddy would be secretly pleased that the hashtag can be used by anyone fundraising to literally blame him on any crazy thing they do, to raise money and awareness for this important cause.”
Cathy, a former Director at BDO who now runs her own business consultancy said: “Within five years, I not only lost Paddy, an incredible brother-in-law but also one of my school friends Natalie of 30 years to this devastating disease. Andrea and I are on a mission to raise awareness and fund vital research so other people don’t have to go through what we have. We want as many people involved in fundraising as possible and will be talking to schools, rugby, and cycling/sports clubs along the route about how they can be part of our journey and #IBlamePaddy too.
“For us, this had to be an endurance challenge, given what we have both personally experienced. We know, no matter what physical and mental distress and pressure we put on ourselves during this challenge, it is absolutely nothing compared to what someone on a pancreatic cancer journey is facing.
NIPANC’s Chairperson, Ivan McMinn MBE said: “We will be supporting Andrea and Cathy every push of the pedal on this epic cycle around the perimeter of NI. The difficulty of this challenge cannot be underestimated but the good it will do will be enormous.”
Stage 1: Belfast to Donaghadee (20 miles via Holywood, Bangor, Groomsport and Donaghadee A2)
Stage 2: Donaghadee to Portaferry (22 miles) TO GET FERRY – LAST ONE 10.45pm
Stage 3: Strangford to Newcastle (26.6 miles via Ardglass, Clough and Dundrum)
Stage 4: Newcastle to Rostrevor (23.4 miles via Kilkeel)
Stage 5: Rostrevor to Crossmaglen (25 miles via Newry, Camlough, Silverbridge)
Stage 6: Crossmaglen to Keady
Stage 7: Keady to Dungannon
Stage 8: Dungannon to Augher (18 miles)
Stage 9: Augher to Enniskillen (23 miles via Clogher, Fivemiletown)
Stage 10: Enniskillen to Garrison (24 miles via Belcoo)
Stage 11: Garrison to Letterkeen (21 miles via Belleek)
Stage 12: Letterkeen to Strabane (25 miles via Castlederg)
Stage 13: Strabane to Londonderry (15 miles)
Stage 14: Londonderry to Limavady (17 miles)
Stage 15: Limavady to Portstewart (25 miles via Castlerock)
Stage 16: Portstewart to Ballintoy (17 miles via Portrush and Bushmills)
Stage 17: Ballintoy to Ballycastle (5.7 miles via Ballycastle and Ballypatrick)
Stage 18: Ballycastle to Torr Head (9.3 miles)
Stage 19: Torr Head to Cushendall (12 miles via Cushendun)
Stage 20: Cushendall to Ballygalley (20 miles via Glenarm and Carnlough)
Stage 21: Ballygalley to Carrickfergus (19.5 miles via Whitehead)
Stage 22: Carrickfergus to Belfast (12 miles via Whiteabbey)
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