Northern Irish ultra-cyclist Joe Barr will go in search of a world record on the week beginning April 10 while also trying to raise money for charity at the same time.
The 62-year-old will aim to break the record for the largest distance cycled in seven days, needing to travel at least 2,180 miles (3,508km) in 168 hours, which will also serve as a fundraiser for the Cancer Fund for Children.
Barr has been inspired to do so by his 15-year-old son Ross, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2007 when just five months old.
Despite scans revealing he had a malignant tumour, Ross not only beat the odds to celebrate his second birthday but endured numerous rounds of treatment and is still thriving today.
That’s inspired Barr to take up this challenge in order to raise funds for the Cancer Fund for Children, who provide short breaks to children impacted by cancer and their families at their therapeutic centre, Daisy Lodge in Newcastle, Co Down, which supports 450 families per year.
The Barrs were one such family who were helped by the organisation during Ross’ treatment, and now Joe is hoping to provide some much-needed money for a new Daisy Lodge that is planned for Mayo.
“Every family in Ireland with a cancer diagnosis should have the opportunity to experience Daisy Lodge, it’s a fantastic place,” said Joe.
“Whenever you go down there, they just do everything for you, so effectively it's a home from home and it allowed us to be together as a ‘normal’ family again and that’s why I’m so motivated to raise as much funds as I can to support the new Daisy Lodge set to be built in Cong, Co Mayo.”
Barr, a former Commonwealth Games medallist in 1986, retired from professional cycling in 2004 after an incredible career that lasted over 45 years but came out of retirement in 2009 to fundraise for Ross.
He has competed in numerous endurance races worldwide, including Race Across America and Race Around Ireland and holds multiple endurance world records in Ireland, however this will be his biggest challenge yet as he attempts the tricky Malin Head to Mizen Head route.
You can donate to Barr’s cycle at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joeguinnessworldrecord as he aims to raise as much money as possible for the Daisy Lodge in Mayo, which will increase the number of families Cancer Fund for Children can support to 1,000 per year.
“The capacity in Newcastle is not sufficient to meet the all-Ireland demand and that’s why we desperately need this second centre,” said Cancer Fund for Children CEO Phil Alexander.
“We are so grateful to Joe for helping to raise funds for such a life-changing facility for children and their families. At Cancer Fund for Children, we understand that behind every childhood cancer diagnosis there is a whole family affected, and beyond the essential medical care there is a family life that needs to be rebuilt.
"A new Daisy Lodge in Mayo would mean so much to these families.”