Garda colleagues of Martin Hopkins, a member of the force who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2018 plan to cycle more than 200 kilometres in his memory. The Martin Hopkins Memorial Cycle is a one day event taking cyclists from the Hopkins home in Cavan all the way to Clonmel in Tipperary. The cycle aims to raise awareness about the deadly cancer.
Married father-of-three Martin (41) passed away from pancreatic cancer on November 13, 2018, he was a keen cyclist.
The marathon cycle will start at 7am from outside the Riverfront Hotel in Virginia, travelling via Tullamore, Templemore and Cashel, before finishing at the Garda Station in Clonmel that afternoon. The full distance is for experienced cyclists, but the hope is that enthusiastic cyclists of all levels will also participate for stages along the route.
The event is made possible with the support of very generous sponsors from across Cavan and Clonmel, including a number of corporates and private donors. All funds raised will go directly to CARE Cancer Support Centre.
Speaking at the launch of the charity cycle, Martin's wife Karen Ferris remembered how, four years ago, as a family they had all travelled to Belfast to watch him participate in the Giro d’Italia Gran Fondo- a 172km cycle across the Antrim Hills.
“This was a young, fit man with so much to live for. It’s still incredible to think that within such a short space of time, he could go from participating and enjoying challenging cycles like this to be struck down by such a rare disease and taken from us.”
Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all the major cancers, and early diagnosis as well as further research on potential innovative treatments to tackle this disease will be key in changing the survival rates for the future.
Martin’s friend and one of the cycle coordinators Niall McHugo explained how the event is being organised by Martin’s many friends, with the support of An Garda Síochána, Ramor GAA club, Clonmel Cycling Club and Martin’s extended family and friends.
“We’ve had an unbelievable response from local businesses already and would like to thank those that have already volunteered services or supported us in any way. It’s also encouraging to see people out on their bikes and training already – we have two very good mates of Martin; former Ramor players Donagh Courtney and Stephen Monaghan who are also taking on the challenge from abroad, and will bring the Martin Hopkins cycle to Phoenix, Arizona and Slovakia on August 10 as well. Such an inspiration for us all!”
For more details visit ‘Martin Hopkins Memorial Cycle’ on Facebook, and how to register for the cycle.