Cycle challenge in memory of Damian raises £27k for good causes

Damians family presenting the cheque to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.
Damians family presenting the cheque to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

A sponsored cycle held recently in memory of beloved local man Damian Lennon has raised more than £27,000 for good causes.

Damian was a much loved husband, father and son, whose death last July after a short and brave battle with pancreatic cancer left a hole in many people’s lives.

Pauline Lennon and Club Chairperson Donal Moran present a cheque to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Funds Northern Ireland representative, Susan Cooke.

Pauline Lennon and Club Chairperson Donal Moran present a cheque to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Funds Northern Ireland representative, Susan Cooke.

Following Damian’s passing, his wife Pauline and three children, Lisa, Thomas, and Michael, decided to hold a fundraising event in his memory to help raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and the important work of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

The Damian Lennon Cycle Challenge was co-organised by Aghaderg GAC-Ballyvarley HC, a club of which Damian was a lifelong member and had volunteered his time as both player and manager. He also played a huge role in the Community Games organisation, at both a local and county level, and his commitment to sport, young people, and his local community was inspirational.

A sponsored cycle was chosen to mirror one that Damian himself took part in for Aghaderg in 2009, that ran from Tipperary to Ballyvarley Hall, celebrating 125 years of the GAA.

The event was held on Sunday, May 28, and was a resounding success with over 30 cyclists participating in a ‘HQ’ Cycle from Dublin to Ballyvarley, and over 100 taking part in the family friendly Scarva to Newry Cycle.

Damian Lennon cycling in the original 2009 Trip from Tipp.

Damian Lennon cycling in the original 2009 Trip from Tipp.

More than £27,000 was raised through the event, with the proceeds going towards the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund and Aghaderg GAC-Ballyvarley HC.

On Friday, June 23, Damian’s wife Pauline Lennon and Aghaderg Chairperson Donal Moran presented the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund’s Northern Ireland representative, Susan Cooke, with a cheque for £10,000.

Special commemorative jerseys, signed by the ‘HQ’ cyclists, were also presented to Pauline and the club.

Lisa Lennon expressed the heartfelt thanks of her family saying: “On 4th July 2016 our beloved Damian lost his battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Unfortunately too many families experience the devastating effects from this cruel strand of the disease. On behalf of the entire Lennon and Campbell family we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the organisation, participation and support in the cycling challenges on 28th May 2017. We are greatly humbled by the continued support and kindness we have received from the local community and friends. Damian had a positive impact on many lives in his 57 years and it was a great honour to see how many people cared and appreciated him. Special recognition should be given to club Chairman Donal Moran for his commitment, drive and dedication to this excellent fundraiser. We are very appreciative of everyone’s generosity and just want to say thank you.”

Thanks were also expressed to all the official sponsors who helped make the event possible: Tam Barney’s, Scarva Auctions, Declan Stewart Joinery & PVC, Brookfield Fuels, Alexander Bain & Murray opticians, EOS, Lennon Estates, J McAleenan LTD Hardware & D.I.Y, Tullylish Stone, Tannyoky Guns & Ammo, O’Kane Commercial, DV Plumbing & Heating, Emmet J Kelly & Company Solicitors, F.L. Electrics, Glasker Tiling, Campbell’s Eurospar, The Seven Stars Bar & Restaurant, Dohertys Costcutter, Jean Piece Casual Wear, I.M.G Construction, SMC Garage, The Pantry Cafe & Restaurant, Evo’s Soccer Skills, Quinn Tiling, Pass Associates Accountants & Management Consultants, Shooter Property Services, Damien Savage Landscapes, Shoe Fair Sports and Tayto.

Around 9,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, and only three per cent of those diagnosed survive for five years or more. Despite this, pancreatic cancer research doesn’t benefit from the same high level of funding that many other types of cancer receive; with pancreatic cancer research attracting only one per cent of funding from the major funding bodies in 2011, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.