A STRABANE man is currently preparing for a mammoth charity challenge which will see him paddle his canoe all the way from Tyrone to Manchester.
Brendan Quinn, who is originally from Melmount Gardens, intends to kayak from the River Mourne, around the coast of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man before disembarking along the Lancashire Canal in Manchester.
Now living in Galway, Brendan has been motivated into completing the challenge by his many relatives and friends who have been affected by cancer.
In particular he has been spurred into action by the experiences of his sister Rita, who was recently treated for cancer at The Christie Hospital in Manchester.
By coincidence, Rita was treated by a fellow Strabane woman, Siobhan Donaghey, during her time in the Manchester hospital.
Brendan’s paddling is all being done to boost the work of two charities whose vital work is helping people suffering from cancer. They are the Maggie’s Centres which provide care to cancer sufferers and the Cancer Clinical Research Fund.
Speaking to the Chronicle this week, Brendan said he is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“For around two weeks I’m going to be anxious, tired, suffering from sickness and generally struggling. The difference is that I am doing this by choice, while those with cancer are struggling with these challenges all the time,” he said.
“Both charities are particularly close to my heart. The Maggie’s Centres offer great care to help those suffering from cancer to live their lives to the full. The Cancer Clinical Research Fund is helping to undertake and fund the kind of research that is aiding so many people.
“In many ways, there has never been a better time to have cancer because of the many drugs and other treatments which are available. My aim in doing this challenge is to highlight the work of the two charities and do my little bit to boost the funding for them.”
An experienced canoeist Brendan (55) hopes to complete the journey in 10-14 days, and has issued an appeal for people to join him for particular legs of what promises to be an epic trip and surely the challenge of a lifetime.
Brendan’s initial leg will take him from Strabane to Moville along the Mourne and the Foyle. He will then make the trip across to Scotland, before heading south to the Isle of Man and finally across to Manchester via the canal system.
A son of two former Strabane teachers – the late Paddy and Una Quinn, Brendan intends to embark on his trip on May 16.
“It will be great to move along the coast of Ireland and see from the canoe sites such as the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway,” he added.
“What I’m hoping is that anyone who knows me or would like a challenge will join me for specific legs of the journey. After all, the road is always shortened when you’ve got company.
“Perhaps the most challenging part of the whole trip will be from the Isle of Man to the coast of England, a section which I’m anticipating will take around 10 hours non-stop in the canoe.”
•In total Brendan will travel around 500km, and anyone who would like to support him can do so by visiting his just-giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brendanquinn-kayak or log on to https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/11376505_the-brendan-voyage–500km-for-cancer.html