By Eoin Kelleher
A TIPPERARY man who lost his job in the recession has managed to turn his negative experience into a positive life-changing force for good by finding a new sense of purpose: fundraising for children with cancer.
Many people across the County can relate to Nenagh man Kieran Coleman’s story. Having lost his job when the boom turned to boost, he had to find a new way of staying positive. Kieran came up with the idea of biking around Europe to raise funds for children battling cancer. Since then, Kieran, from the Abbey Lane, Nenagh, has embarked on three marathon motorcycling expeditions. So far, Kieran has raised about E8,000 for the cause, and is looking forward to this year’s challenge.
“The fundraising has been very difficult this year,” Kieran told the Tipperary Star. This year, Kieran is working with CLIC Sargent, a UK based group which organises charity events for young people with cancer.
Kieran’s campaign is called “Twistin’ the Throttle for Children with Cancer”. Set up in 2009, it raises funds especially for Our Lady’s Children Hospital in Crumlin. With his facebook page “Twistin’ the Throttle” attracting friends from as far away as Sweden and Germany, Kieran hopes to garner about E2,000 this time around.
“Having been made redundant in 2008, after 19 years of employment, I initially struggled with the life change imposed on me,” said Kieran. “Having never previously been unemployed, I soon realised however that there are literally thousands of children who have a far greater life change imposed on them than I could ever imagine, an imposition that many of them are too young to comprehend, but no less have to suffer through, an imposition that not only causes them physical pain and emotional anguish, but also robs them of their childhood and innocence.”
As “Twistin’ the Throttle,” Kieran has undertaken strenuous motorcycle challenges each year since 2009, navigating his way through 11 European countries in 11 days, covering over 3,600 miles on each occasion. “I rely on the good will and support of my friends, family and local community and also that of the wider motorcycling community,” adds Kieran.
On June 21st this year, Kieran will embark on the trip of a lifetime, leaving Nenagh to travel, by sports motorbike, through Northern Ireland, then Scotland, England, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and France, before heading back through through the UK to Ireland again by Friday July 1st.
A support team of four motorcyclists from Belfast will accompany him on the arduous journey around Europe.“I will be accompanied by four other riders, who will act as a support team but are embarking on this challenge voluntarily and at their own expense, in support of me and this cause,” added Kieran.
Readers who wish to donate to this worthy cause can donate personally, or lodge funds with a Bank of Ireland account especially set up for ‘Twistin’ the Throttle’. (A/C Kieran Coleman, Sort Code 90-43-68, A/C 45995275).