Joe will cycle from Malin, in Donegal, to Mizen in Cork seven times over seven days with his dedicated team of support cyclists, all to raise money for the new Daisy Lodge in Mayo, who provide support for families of children who have cancer. Joe and his family spent time in Daisy Lodge in Co. Down when his son Ross, now 15, after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour at just five months old.
Joe said: “There’s 30 people in Ireland each month getting that call that their child has cancer and that respite centre in Co. Down can only take one in every seven families. This new respite centre in Mayo will change the whole landscape on how families get supported. Most families have more than one kid so they get split up and it’s so difficult to manage. This facility will change that and how many families can get looked after. You don’t realise how invaluable that help is. I look back to 2007 when we were there and there was a number of those families that we knew whose children didn’t make it. So there’s two sides to this; you could go to a facility to put your family back together or you could go to experience some time with your child who won’t be here for much longer.
“The children in that hospital can’t say that they’re tired and want to go home, they have to stay with it. And that has stayed with me, no matter happens, you can’t give up. It doesn’t matter what the result is, the failure is not starting. I am going to try break this record but if I fail, I will have only failed in the race. The fundraising is the most important aspect. I picked a route north-south so that as many people as possible will be aware of the fundraising. I want people to be aware that it could be your family member, a neighbour or someone in your community who is affected by this.
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“There will be eight people in this race with me and they will take 12 hour shifts. We have three support cars and a base in the Clayton Hotel in Limerick, which is roughly half-way, so people will stay there on their 12 hours off.
“My sleep will be very limited. The first two laps, which is down and back up, will take roughly 50 hours and I will have no sleep then. After that, I’ll have 60 to 90 minutes every day after that but we’ll play that by ear.”
Joe will have a fund set up online where people can donate to the Daisy Lodge and there will also be a live tracker so people can watch him as he races. Follow ‘Team Joe Barr’ social media for information.