Sister’s cancer diagnosis inspires Strabane man to paddle 500km to Manchester in his kayak
A Co Tyrone man is gearing up for an epic 500km voyage from his home town to Manchester - taking in the north coast, Isle of Man and Scottish coastline along the way.
Strabane pharmacist Brendan Quinn (55) is no stranger to fundraising for good causes, but on May 26 he will embark on his biggest undertaking to date.
It's all in the aid of two cancer charities - the Cancer Clinical Research Fund and Maggie's Centre in Manchester, where his sister Rita is being cared for.
Brendan hopes to raise at least £20,000 and wants others to join him on parts of his two-week voyage on the seas.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Brendan said: "Every year I try and do something for charity, and I have kayaked from Strabane to the Foyle Hospice for the hospice, but this year I particularly wanted to do something for cancer research.
"My sister Rita has been diagnosed with stage four lymphoma and was in a cancer centre in Manchester, where she lives, called Maggie's Centre.
"Coincidentally, the nurse who looks after her is also from Strabane, as is one of the other patients.
"I am hoping as we get nearer to May 26 when I aim to set off from Strabane there will be other people who will join me for at least some of the journey.
"The training I have been doing has been intensive because I will need to cover around 40kms a day but the upside of this is I am getting to see some incredible coastlines.
"I have been getting up early in the morning and while there is nothing to beat the sunrise from the sea, I know I have a tough enough time ahead of me and I am going to suffer a lot of sea sickness, nausea and self-doubt.
"But I reckon this is what cancer sufferers go through every single day so I will put up with it for two weeks.
"Local knowledge of tides and currents is very important so I have been contacting people from kayak clubs along the Donegal/North Coast about the conditions."
"I am quite nervous about the Causeway Coast but I think the rest will be quiet manageable.
"The biggest hurdle could be the wind because if the wind is against me it will be a hard slog," Brendan added.
"I hope to raise around £20,000 so I can give £10,000 to each charity, but I have almost half of that raised already, which is great."
To contribute to Brendan's fundraiser visit the website, www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brendan-quinn-kayak