A close family friend of Caoimhín Mallon, who tragically passed away in May of this year, is making the final preparations for a mammoth four-day fundraiser in the teenager’s memory.
Lurgan father-of-two, Dean McCabrey, has set a £2,000 target which will then be presented to Craigavon Hospital and Ambulatory Unit as recognition for their efforts in trying to save Caoimhín’s life.
Caoimhín’s passing, as the result of an asthma attack – aged just 15 – had a huge impact on the local community. He, like Dean, was sports mad. He was a valued underage player for St. Paul’s GAC, a massive fan of Armagh GAA and an avid Liverpool supporter.
Speaking to Armagh I, the 31-year-old, said: “Caoimhín supported Liverpool since he was born. When he passed away one of his relatives made a pic-collage video of all the photos of him growing up and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was playing in the background and as I was watching it; it sort of hit me and it was very emotional and it gave me the idea of doing something in his memory for charity.”
Fitness-fanatic Dean then worked out the distance from Taghnevan to Anfield, a total of 154 miles, of which he will cycle 100 miles and row the remaining 54 miles.
Dean has had the support of two local fitness champions who have guided him during his training.
Tommy Stevenson, who has just completed his third Iron Man, helped design a cycling plan and pointed Dean in the direction of Hugh Conway, of St. Pat’s Tug-of-War Club in Crossmaglen, who assisted with a rowing regime.
Taking advice from the professionals, Dean decided against continuing with his initial plan to complete the full 154 miles in one day.
He said: “I’ve been told, your body goes into shock when you’re training for so long. If I tried to do it all in one day, I’d be training for around a year to do it. So, I’m splitting it up into four days.
“This Saturday July 1, in the Crossmaglen Tug of War Club, I’ll be doing a half marathon and cycling 25 miles, Tuesday will be the same again, Thursday, July 6, again cycling 25 miles and rowing another half marathon at the house, with family there, and then on Saturday, July 8 I’ll be at St. Paul’s GAA Club for the final half marathon and cycling 25 miles.”
The fundraiser has had a huge impact on Dean’s life. Recently, Hugh from St. Pat’s Tug-of-War Club extended an invite to Dean to become a member of his club, as well as offering him the opportunity to compete at the next Irish Indoor Rowing Championships – something, he says, Caoimhín would have been proud of.
Together, Dean and Caoimhín’s father, Jude, will make the final cheque presentation to Craigavon Area Hospital.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help raise donations and can be found here.