Peak performance | 

Family to climb Ireland’s highest peaks and cycle 1000km for charity who helped daughter

The Pedal to the Peaks challenge involves more than 1100km of cycling and 4155m of climbing across the highest peak in each province to fundraise for The Gavin Glynn Foundation.

Ross Foley and Tim O'Driscoll, who will take on the Pedal to the Peaks challenge next month, with Ellie and Caroline.

Ross Foley and Tim O'Driscoll, who will take on the Pedal to the Peaks challenge next month, with Ellie and Caroline.

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The family of a young girl battling a rare form of cancer are planning to climb the highest summits in Ireland to raise money for charity.

The Pedal to the Peaks challenge involves more than 1100km of cycling and 4155m of climbing across the highest peak in each province to fundraise for The Gavin Glynn Foundation.

The Wicklow-based organisation assists families with the logistical and financial aspects of travelling abroad for specialist cancer treatment not available in Ireland.

One child who was supported by the foundation is 12-year-old Ellie from Limerick who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called meningioma.

The cancer affected the optic nerve of her right eye, and as she was already blind in her left eye, there was fear that Ellie would go completely blind.

The HSE were unable to offer treatment in Ireland, but proton radiation treatment was available in Germany.

Ellie’s mum Caroline and stepdad Tim were “left with such pain” as they struggled to figure out how to get to Germany in the middle of a pandemic and find a place to stay for 6 months with four other children to look after.

They were later contacted by The Gavin Glynn Foundation, who helped the family organise travel arrangements and accommodation while offering financial support.

“We went to Germany and Ellie got her treatment and after six months we were told that the radiation was a success and not only had the growth stopped but we had an improvement in her vision,” Ellie’s stepdad Tim told the Sunday World.

“None of this would have been possible if it wasn't for John Glynn and the amazing work he does with the Gavin Glynn Foundation.”

To give their thanks to the foundation, Tim and two others plan to complete the Pedal to the Peaks challenge on October 1.

The group plans to climb from Seefin to Lugnaquilla in County Wicklow before heading to Slieve Donard in County Down, Mweelrea in County Galway, and finally Carrauntoohil in County Kerry in under a week.

They will cycle to and from each mountain, covering an estimated distance of 1100km, before heading home again.

“Even doing the challenge seems massive [but] the realistic side of this is it is nothing compared to the challenges our children can face in this world and without the Gavin Glynn Foundation, that challenge is impossible for them,” Tim added.

Donations to the cause can be made here.

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