Garda crew wheel it out for children’s charity cycle

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A GARDA sergeant took on a gruelling 280km cycle from the Bridewell Garda Station in Dublin to the Bridewell Garda Station in Cork alongside his garda colleagues last week, where they raised over €5,000 and counting for the Little Blue Heroes Foundation.

Garda Sergeant David Cryan (40), who is originally from Roscommon but lives in Lucan with his wife Siobhán and their children Zoe (4) and Dylan (7), has seen first-hand the work that the Little Blue Heroes Foundation does by supporting the families of unwell children, as his daughter Zoe has cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease.

Cyclists with honorary garda Cian Byrne at the Bridewell Dublin 1

Cyclists with honorary garda Cian Byrne at the Bridewell Dublin

Zoe, who was born prematurely at 24 weeks weighing only 540 grammes and is tube-fed, was made an honorary garda by the Little Blue Heroes Foundation last October – a designation that the garda-backed charity gives to seriously ill children who want to become gardaí, who then get their own garda uniform and become part of the garda family.

Three honorary gardaí, Cian Byrne, Killian Fox and Michael Barry, cheered on the cyclists at the beginning, midpoint and end of their cycle route.

While honorary garda Zoe unfortunately had to miss the event as she is currently in Boston for a three-week stint to receive specialist treatment to help her with swallowing, she received a police escort from the Cohasset Police Department to the hospital on her arrival to Boston and became an honorary officer of the Cohasset PD.

Speaking about his experience of the cycle, which was across two days and saw the team of 42 cyclists returning to their old haunt of Templemore College for the night, Sergeant Cryan said: “We were blessed with the weather – there was no rain, no wind and everyone pulled each other along.

“It felt good [to raise money for the Little Blue Heroes Foundation] because I know first-hand the work that they do.

“They look after and help kids who have serious medical issues and problems, and they give them a day out.

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“It’s for the parents to have support, and they thought of both Zoe and Dylan when they took us away to the Aran Islands, which we couldn’t have done on our own, and they give the families support when they’re going through tough times.”

Sergeant Cryan, who also starred in RTÉ’s Operation Transformation in 2018 where his weight dropped from 19 st 5.5 lb at the start of the programme to 16 st 1 lb , said that, as a result of his weight loss, he found the cycling challenge less difficult that when he did it two years ago.

“This time, with the weight loss, it was tough, but it was good and I enjoyed it,” he said. “We left Dublin on Thursday morning, we got to Templemore at five that evening and arrived in Cork the next day.

“There was a great sense of achievement [when we arrived in Cork].”

Sergeant Cryan spoke to The Echo on Wednesday, just before getting on a flight to Boston with his son Dylan to join Siobhán and Zoe in Boston, and to be his daughter’s side as she undergoes intense physiotherapy.

“I’m unbelievably proud of Zoe,” said the father-of-two, “the poor little thing has had a difficult start in life, but she’s fighting back.”

At the time of going to print, the final figure for the amount of money raised for the Little Blue Heroes Foundation had not yet been tallied, but Sergeant Cryan said he’s feeling positive that the event will have reached its €15,000 target.

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