A CYCLIST enlisted the help of a Tour de France star for a marathon bike ride to raise money for his pal who has a life-threatening condition.
Childhood mates, Kieran Shaughnessy, 28, and Michael Goodwin, 27, have been through many ups and downs together since they met on a bouncy castle more than 20 years ago.
To show his support for his closest friend, Kieran, who works at the 3Store in Stretford Mall, has just taken part in a gruelling 55-mile bike ride from Stoke-on-Trent to the top of the Pennines and back.
It is part of Kieran’s efforts to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Trust which has helped Michael battle the condition he has had since birth.
But Kieran says the tattoo and motorbike fanatic ‘never complains’ and admitted Michael’s determined lust for life helped him complete the circular course in three hours and 28 minutes, including the infamous seven-mile Cat and Fiddle climb.
Joined on the day by legendary Irish cyclist Sean Kelly, four times the winner of the Tour De France Green jersey for most points, and a record seven-time winner of the Paris-Nice classic, he was determined to raise hundreds of pounds for the appeal, matched by his bosses at the mobile phone giant which has a store in the Stretford Mall.
“It was a lot harder than I expected to be,” said Kieran from Stretford.
“When I reached the top of the Cat and Fiddle climb I was elated and thought it was all downhill from there - it wasn’t!
“We went back over the Pennines and there were several tough climbs. I was so tired at the finish line but it was so, so worth it.”
CF is one of the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited diseases, caused by a faulty gene that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of cells within the body.
If affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, making it hard for Michael, from Flixton, to breathe and digest food and he is currently in hospital recovering from treatment to ease his condition.
Colin McCrory, Stretford Mall Manager, said: “Kieran’s support of his good friend Michael is an inspiration to us all at Stretford Mall and I wish him all the very best with all the fund raising he is doing.
“The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is an excellent cause and Kieran has set himself some incredibly tough physical challenges so I think he thoroughly deserves any sponsorship!”
Having raised money on the bike ride and many other events, including the Manchester 10k, Kieran is now preparing for the Beetham Tower Run on Sunday October 28.
The Manchester United fan ran up the 798 steps - or 169 metres - of the UK’s tallest building (outside of London) in just six minutes and 20 seconds last year and wants to knock 30 seconds off that time.
“I’ve been keeping fit by jogging, cycling and through Thai boxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu,” said Kieran.
“Besides the eight days I had to take off before this latest bike ride with a knee injury I am in great shape and looking forward to it.
“Last year my time was second best and the best was around six minutes. I want to beat that.”
And he will be doing it with Michael in mind.
“We’ve been best friends since he was five and I was six, when we moved into the street he lived in and I spotted the bouncy castle in his garden. I went around to have a go and we have been there for each other ever since, all the way through infant school, juniors and senior school at Wellacre Academy… he is an inspiration to me,” added Kieran.
“Michael’s had Cystic Fibrosis since birth but never complains and enjoys life. He has never given up or sat around feeling sorry for himself. He doesn’t waste his life drinking and smoking, he keeps himself healthy and even qualified as a personal trainer. The tutors said he was the only person with CF who had ever done it, but that’s Michael, he is a pretty amazing guy.”
So what’s next for Kieran? A well deserved break or more charity challenges?
“The Cystic Fibrosis Trust wants to raise more than £6million to develop drugs that will help the condition and I want to keep trying to help, even in some small way,” he said.
“I’ll be cycling from London to Paris next year and looking to take on other events in the future. It’s an amazing cause and if people can support me we can get closer to the CF’s target.”
To sponsor Kieran visit his Just Giving page online www.justgiving.com/kegatron or pop into 3Store at Stretford Mall.