Rugby star Stephen Ferris has swapped his rugby shirt for a cycling jersey to urge Belfast Telegraph readers to go the extra mile for a children’s cancer charity.
The Ireland and Ulster rugby star has thrown his weight behind CLIC Sargent’s Malin to Mizen Cycle Challenge which takes to the road in May next year.
The event is challenging participants to cycle 415 gruelling miles from Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head in Co Donegal, south to Mizen Head in Co Cork.
The ride takes place over seven days from May 18-25 next year. It’s open to everyone and will take cyclists through stunning countryside.
Cash raised through the event will be donated to the cancer charity’s Homes From Home Appeal which aims to build new respite centres for families dealing with childhood cancer.
Earlier this week the Belfast Telegraph launched a Christmas Appeal to raise £50,000 towards the overall Homes From Home total of £3.7m needed.
The funds are needed to build two respite homes within walking distance of treatment centres at the Royal Hospital and the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.
They will offer a sanctuary to families close to where their child is undergoing treatment for cancer.
Urging supporters to saddle up to contribute to the appeal, Ferris highlighted the lengthy journey many families across Northern Ireland face when a child is undergoing cancer treatment.
“On average, families in Northern Ireland have to travel 95 miles, up to five times a week, to access the cancer treatment they need for their sick child,” he said.
“It’s 415 miles from Malin Head to Mizen Head; which is much less than the journey many families make every week. This thought will definitely help spur everyone on as they train for the challenge.
Teresa Sloan, appeal director at CLIC Sargent, said: “Our aim is to build two Homes From Home close to the two main Belfast hospitals so that we can ease the financial and emotional burden on families at an already difficult time. All of the money raised through this event will go towards making that happen.
“The Malin to Mizen challenge is just one of many examples of how you can get involved with CLIC Sargent to support children and young people with cancer.
“Our partnership with the Belfast Telegraph opens up a whole range of easy ways for readers to make donations and get involved this Christmas. Readers could host their own cake sale at work, a coffee morning with friends at home or a non-uniform day at school.
“With the help of the Belfast Telegraph we can make our Homes from Home a reality and ease that burden on local families.”