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Dad and daughter take on 600km cycle challenge for night nurses

Author: Petrina Vousden
07 February 2017

Sports journalist Paul Kimmage and his daughter Evelyn are taking part in a 600km cycle to raise funds for the “invaluable” Nurses for Night Care Service.

It’s the first time Evelyn has signed up for the cycle for the Irish Hospice Foundation Funded Service but third time for ex Tour de France rider Paul.

The father and daughter duo will spend six days together, leading the way on the Porto to Lisbon cycle, and are urging other cycling enthusiasts to join them for the IHF challenge this June.

Evelyn, 26 who is a physiotherapist working in Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital, Dublin said she is excited about the event and is "really looking forward to it."

Paul admitted the first cycle he took part in was an “eye opener”.  He initially thought it would be a “group of people going away to a sunny climate for a good time for a week.”

However he said: “What I didn’t realise is almost everybody there was invested in the hospice charity. They had all either had a relation or a friend who had needed the Nurses for Night Care Service, which is an invaluable service” or the hospice itself. They were all very much invested in it.

“It’s really worthy.  There are endless charities out there - I am not going to suggest they are not worthy – but this is a really worthy cause, doing great work.”

He said people of all ages and abilities and each with their own story to tell have completed the charity cycle in the past.

Paul said: “There were about ten teams, last year. I spent a day with each squad getting to know all of the guys which is great for me. I get a sense of why they are there.”

At the end of the journey he gives a yellow jersey to the person he thinks is the rider of the week.

Paul had some advice for people thinking of getting on a bike for the first time to complete the challenge.

He warned that “it hurts everywhere” when you cycle for the first time. Be he has visited some of this year’s picturesque route in Portugal before.

“It’s a beautiful place to ride a bike which is some compensation for the suffering,” he said.

Paul said he has heard inspirational stories from fellow cyclists about Nurses for Night Care service during previous challenges.  The nurses work throughout the night enabling people to spend their final days at home with their families by their side.

Paul who is a famous anti-doping in sport advocate lost his own father Christy two years ago in May. He was 77 when he died.

Paul told The Ray D’Arcy radio Show: “You never have enough time with him. He’s left a massive hole in all of our lives – as all dads do -  I still really, really miss him.”

He said: “End of life affects every village and street. We all wish for a peaceful and comfortable experience for our dearest during their final chapter and this IHF service makes that possible. I’m encouraging cyclists of all abilities to join me and Evelyn and pedal the picturesque Portuguese coastline. It’s a hugely rewarding experience,” said Paul.

The Kingspan-sponsored cycle has raised €1.5m for the IHF since it started in 2009 and takes place from June 25 to July 1 along the charming coastline of Portugal. Registration closes on March 20.

Helen McVeigh, IHF Events Manager, said 2,475 families have been cared for by the Nurses for Night Care service with 7,200 nights of care provided since it was established.

Full details on how to take part can be found at www.hospicefoundation.ie or by calling 01 6793188. Registration closes on March 20.

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