The family of a young Cavan man who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) have raised more than €5,000 in his memory by cycling the length of the Border between the North and Republic of Ireland.
For the fourth year in a row, sisters Lisa and Amanda Keith have completed an incredible challenge while raising funds for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which was so supportive to their family when their brother Richard tragically passed away in February 2014.
The Cornafean native had been living in Australia at the time and his sudden death came as a huge shock to his family, not least because he had lived such a healthy lifestyle.
A former GAA player with ‘The Reds’, on the night he collapsed, Richard has been hosting colleagues in his home when he took ill. They tried to resuscitate him but he never regained consciousness.
It can cost upwards of €5,000 to repatriate a person’s body back to Ireland from abroad.
As a heartfelt thanks, the Keiths set up their fundraising vehicle, ‘the Richard Keith Memorial Fund’, to help raise funds to carry on the work of repatriating loved ones who have died abroad.
“Anytime we can get over that €5,000 mark, that’s the magic number for us. It is very much in memory of Richard,” Lisa told The Anglo-Celt last week.
It took sisters Lisa and Amanda almost three days, between May 4-6, to cycle the near 500km distance between the starting point in Muff, Co Donegal and Omeath in Co Louth.
The Border cycle was, in part, symbolic of the fact that the Kevin Bell Trust operates without borders.
The family spent a lot of time talking about Richard and sharing stories over the weekend of the cycle. But the cycle launch from Donegal saw the sisters take off on their own. Lisa explains: “That was good too. We didn’t have anyone with us. We did 150 kilometres, and it was quiet time, reflective time and that’s needed too. We only had dad (David) driving the camper along with his friend John (Gould).”
The girl’s friend Marita Sharkey also helped out on the cycle and they were joined too at various points along the way by members of the Cavan Triathlon Club, of which Lisa and Amanda are both members; the Breffni Wheelers and the Emyvale Cycling Club from Co Monaghan.
Asked what drives them on, Lisa said: “It’s almost like you get this extra strength from somewhere and I think it comes from Richard.”
Of what the future holds for their fundraising efforts, Lisa admits that conversations have already taken place about what they might do next.
“We’re thinking we might give our legs a rest next time though and do something a little less strenuous on the body,” she laughed.