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SEAN'S WHEELY BRAVE; From Bray to Cork on bicycle built for two: Cystic fibrosis sufferer, 11, nominated for top honour.


THIS is the brave cystic fibrosis sufferer who raised EUR30,000 for charity by cycling 176 miles on a tandem bike with his dad.

Sean Kavanagh, 11, refused to let his illness stop him from completing the astonishing journey from his home in Bray, Co Wicklow, to Ballyhay in Co Cork.

The bubbly 5th class pupil is now in contention for a top gong at the Specsaver's Ireland InVOLved awards, an event which honours volunteers from around the country.

Sean in this year's youngest contender and he's hopeful he can beat 29 other finalists.

He told the Irish Daily Mirror yesterday: "I got the letter to say I was nominated on Monday and it felt great. I would love it if I win."

Sean and his dad Joe got on their bike on August 11th last year - Sean's 10th birthday.

He added: "When I was a baby and my dad found out I had CF, he said when I was old enough he was going to get me to do something to help other people with it. "So one day he rang me up and said we were going to cycle to Cork.

"I thought he was slightly mad and nobody in my class would believe me.

"We did a little bit of training beforehand.

In the end it took four days and it was really tough.

"Thankfully the last day was gorgeous. Before that it was murder, so I am so glad we made it."

St Cronan's NS student Sean was diagnosed with the degenerative lung condition shortly after birth.

But proud dad Joe insists his son has always been a fighter. He said: "Sean's lung function is quite good for a child with CF.

"He does have a digestive problem. He eats and eats and eats but can't put any weight on, which is quite common for kids with cystic fibrosis.

"He also has to take artificial enzymes because his pancreas doesn't work properly. But he never complains. He never says 'why do I have to have CF?' "I didn't think twice about bringing him on the cycle. We just went for it."

The determined pair managed to raise more than EUR29,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland.

The charity will use the money to provide a four-bed isolation unit at Crumlin Children's Hospital.

Sean is now looking forward to the awards event on November 5.


PEDAL POWER Sean, pictured with dad Joe, Lisa Walsh of Specsavers and Elaine Bradley from Volunteering Ireland, hopes to win a Specsavers Ireland InVOLved Award in November KAVANAGH A LAUGH Dad Joe and Sean Kavanagh teamed up for their cycle ride
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 26, 2009
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