Ciodhna Kirwan and pals will cycle from Mizan to Malin Head on July 31st

Ashbourne aunt to take on cycle challenge in nephew's memory

The loving aunt of a baby boy who tragically passed away from an illness at just eight weeks old is preparing to take on an endurance challenge to honour his memory.

Cliodhna Kirwan’s family was turned upside down when her nephew Rory contracted whooping cough losing his battle to the condition just weeks after being born.

Cliodhna says it was the support of A Little Lifetime, a charity that provides information and support to bereaved parents and families that got her loved ones through this difficult time and now the Ashbourne woman wants to give something back.

On July 31st Cliodhna will cycle from Mizen to Malin totalling 880km in aid of the organization with friends Maria Travers, Joyce Roche and Marian Fitzgerald.

The keen cyclist is looking forward to taking on the physical challenge and is using this as a way of keeping Rory’s memory alive. She added:

“A little Lifetime is a charity close to my heart, five years ago my sister lost her baby boy Rory Ryan at 8 weeks old. She used the charity a lot to get support during that really difficult time. They provide counselling for bereaved parents and the charity has been invaluable to us.

“I’m a keen cyclist and always wanted to cycle the length of the country anyway, they are a small charity and I try to raise money for them whenever I can. They have really taken a hit with covid and they don’t get much funding so I’m hoping the money raised will help other families.

“Years ago people didn’t deal with things like this, it was just brushed under the carpet, at least with charities like this It gives parents somewhere to go to talk.”

A tragedy like this affects the entire family according to the Ashbourne cyclist who said:

“Rory contracted whooping cough, initially they thought it was just a chest infection and because he was only eight weeks’ old everything wasn’t fully developed.

“He was in hospital for a week and unfortunately he wasn’t able to fight it.

“It changes your whole family; things are never the same again. My sister definitely had to learn how to cope. Thankfully she has gone on to have two more children, so she has four now including Rory.

“Everyone deals with it with in a different way, the counselling provided by a Little Lifetime definitely helped.

“You have to get on with things and life goes on but when you have a death like that and you're trying to get back to work you are thinking why everyone is getting on with their day to day lives when my nephew is after dying.

Talking to each other because it is something that we all went through together and charities like A Little Lifetime are so important.

“We never forget about Rory, I think about him all of the time, he will always be a special part of our family.”

Search for "Mizen to Malin Cycle for A Little Lifetime" on GoFundMe.