The late Garda Martin Hopkins and his wife Karen
This Saturday, August 10, more than 100 cyclists will take to the road in memory of their former friend and colleague Garda Sergeant Martin Hopkins.
The 212 km challenge from Virginia, Co Cavan through the midlands and on to Tipperary, before finishing in Clonmel is no mean feat, and organisers are asking people along the route to come out to support the cycle as it passes through Cavan, Meath, Westmeath, Offaly and Tipperary.
Martin Hopkins passed away of pancreatic cancer in November 2018 and his colleagues and friends are holding this event on what would have been his 42nd birthday weekend, to raise awareness and funds for cancer support services in Tipperary, where Marin was supported throughout his illness.
This one-day event will start from outside the Riverfront Hotel in Virginia at 7am, before travelling on to Kells, Mullingar, Tullamore, Birr, Templemore, Thurles, Cashel, and through O’Connell Street Clonmel, before finishing at the front of Barlos Garage between 5pm and 6pm that evening.
This event is made possible with the generous support of sponsors from across Cavan and Clonmel, including a number of corporates and private donors. All funds raised will go directly to CARE Cancer Support Centre, a service that provides support and information to people affected by cancer in South Tipperary and the surrounding area. CARE worked closely with Martin and his family throughout his illness.
Martin was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 39, with no prior illnesses. After undergoing surgery to remove a tumour in May 2018, it was discovered that the cancer had spread to Martin’s liver and he passed away five months later leaving his wife Karen and three young children – Sebastian, Seonadh and Sadhbh – behind.
Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all major cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one year relative survival rate is 20% and the five year rate is 7%. The hope is that by shining a greater light on this disease, the outcomes can be improved for people facing a similar diagnosis. Early diagnosis and further research on potential innovative treatments to tackle this disease will be key to changing the survival rates for the future.
Speaking before the event, Martin’s wife Karen said: “Martin’s loss has left such a huge gap in our lives but it means so much that his friends and colleagues are keeping his memory alive with this event, which Martin would have loved to have participated in. We are hugely grateful to everyone who has worked tirelessly to organize the cycle.
“Seb, Seonadh, Sadhbh and I will be joining in on our bikes for the final leg through Clonmel and we’re looking forward to a warm welcome for the 100-plus riders who’re expected to participate. My brother in law Fergal Condon will also be cycling on Martin’s bike from Virginia, so in a special way, Martin will with be very much with us throughout the event.”
Karen concluded – “Throughout his life, Martin worked tirelessly to help people and support his community. I’d like to ask the public to help us celebrate his memory by cheering us on on Saturday, and helping us raise awareness and funds to support our vital cancer support services.”
Further details of the event are available here. Please click on the GoFundMe page to sponsor or donate to the event: https://www.gofundme.com/martin-hopkins-memorial-cycle
Co. Cavan: Virginia (outside Riverfront Hotel – start time 7am)
Co. Meath: Outskirts of Kells
Co. Westmeath: Delvin, Outskirts of Mullingar, Tyrellpass, Kilbeggan
Co. Offaly: Tullamore (first stopping point at GAA Centre), Tullamore, Kilcormac, Birr
Co. Tipperary: Roscrea, Templemore (second stopping point at back of Garda Barracks), Thurles, Horse and Jockey, Cashel, Cahir, New Inn, Clonmel (through Irishtown, under West Gate, past Garda Station and finish at Hyundai Garage, Barlos Motors approx. 5pm/6pm)