Echo's wheel challenge raises €3,000

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A TOTAL of €3,000 has been raised for the Tallaght COPD Support Group, as a result of The Echo team taking on a 500km static bike challenge in The Square for their annual fundraiser.

Staff from the newspaper were also helped out on the day by members of Dublin Fire Brigade, players from Shamrock Rovers, Dublin footballer Olwen Carey and Tallaght Person of the Year Lee Maroney, who saddled up to raise funds for the group.

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Tallaght COPD support group accepting a cheque for €3,000 from Echo staff as a result of The Echo staff fundraising event held recently.

Members of COPD also helped out by shaking buckets and giving information on the support group to passers by.

The Tallaght COPD Support Group helps people who have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – an incurable disease which makes it hard to empty air out of your lungs and causes shortness of breath and tiredness.

COPD, which mainly affects smokers, regardless of whether they’ve quit smoking or how long it’s been since they last smoked, is a life-limiting disease which makes it hard to empty air out of your lungs and clear mucus and phlegm.

The support group was set up by Carol Muldoon, Phil Meehan and Paddy Grimes in 2016, and they offer exercises tailored to people with COPD, to help them manage the condition, and the group also provides a social outlet for those with the condition.

Speaking about the fundraiser, Nicky Coules, the PRO of the Tallaght COPD Support Group and a former People Before Profit councillor, said: “The money that was raised will make a considerable difference to the group.

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Echo reporter Hayden Moore on the bike supported by his colleagues Aisling Finn, Liza Keeley, Brenda Mockler and Wendy Byrne with Nicky Coules, Phil Meehan, Carol Muldoon and Letitia Swardt

“We’re going to elect a new committee in January, so we can refresh the group and get some new people in.

My ambition is for us to have a strategy set up for the next 12 months, with things like more activities we can engage in.

“We’re also hoping to possibly establish a COPD support group in Clondalkin, as nobody else in Clondalkin is doing it and there are people there with COPD.

“The money will be used for the group and it will allow us to put on more activities and have more days out.

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Dublin footballer Olwen Carey with members of ‘D’ Watch from Dublin Fire Brigade in Tallaght supporting the fundraiser

 We also want to set up an informal choir, as it’s something different to the regular exercise we do, but it exercises your lungs.”

Members of the support group were on-hand throughout the static cycle, and spoke to many members of the public who had COPD, or whose relatives were affected, and were happy to get the opportunity to get the word out about the group.

“It was wonderful,” said Nicky. “Hats off to the staff of The Echo – it was great fun, it was terrific.

“We got to talk to a lot of people who had COPD or whose relatives had it, it all helped us immeasurably.”

The Echo want to extend our thanks to Liz O’Connor from Pulse Triathlon Club for donating the bike, and Gary from Cycle Superstore for donating the Garmin speedometer.

The Tallaght COPD Support Group meets in the Rua Red cafe, which is opposite the Luas stop for The Square, every Thursday from 10.30am to midday.

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