25 cyclists undertake charity cycle from Ireland to Rome
A group of 25 non-professional cyclists is undertaking a cycle of over 2,000 km from Ireland to Rome, to raise funds for 23 different cancer charities.
Central to their journey to Rome is the carrying of a scroll containing the #LiveLife message from Donal Walsh, the Irish teenage campaigner against suicide who lost his four-year battle against cancer last year.
The 16-year-old came to public prominence after he wrote in a newspaper article that he had no say in his “death sentence” and appealed to those considering suicide to think again. The influential teenager won numerous awards and was praised for his role in suicide prevention as well as his courage and fundraising for hospitals and hospices.
Donal's message, which encourages young people to make the most of their lives, has been translated into Latin by Ireland's papal nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, a strong supporter of the Rome cycle.
The journey begins on 15 June, what would have been Donal's 18th birthday, when the scroll is blessed in his native Tralee in Co. Kerry. On 21 June the cyclists take the ferry to Cherbourg in France and for the next 14 days they will make their journey down to Rome.
On 2 July, in Pisa, the group will be joined by Donal's mother, Elma Walsh, who will cycle the remainder of the journey to Rome and deliver her son's scroll to the Vatican.
The group has been assisted by Lora Ellard, an Irish resident in Rome, who has appealed to the city's Irish community and Italian supporters of Donal to welcome the cyclists as they arrive into St Peter's Square at midday on Saturday 5 July.