Galway contractor Anthony Flanagan lost his leg in a farm accident in 2004 but will partake in a 24-hour cycle to raise money for charity next month. Taking place on Saturday 9 September, the cycle will raise funds for charities including Hand in Hand, Ballinasloe Cancer Support and Clonfert National School.
“I lost my leg in a combine accident in 2004 and I was back working after two or three months. I was doing silage the next summer. I do some contracting now. I spread fertiliser for Liffy Mills in Bannagher,” Flanagan explained.
The contractor has been participating in charity cycles since 2018 with September's event the third time he will take to the roads.
“This is our third cycle. We started the cycles back in 2018. On our first cycle, we cycled over 166km from Clonfert, Co Galway to Ballyconneely, Co Galway.
“The second cycle took place in 2020 and we cycled from Clonfert to Croagh Patrick, which was a cycle of over 176km. We then climbed Croagh Patrick. Our first two runs were carried out to raise funds for Clonfert National School. During our first cycle in 2018, we raised €7,500 and that was used to put new floors into the school. We raised €14,500 during the second cycle, which was used to fund amenities in the school such as climbing walls,” Flanagan said.
On 9 September, the Galway man will cycle from Clonfert to Ballyconneely and then on to Croagh Patrick, before returning to Clonfert.
“My friends and neighbours are joining me on the cycle - Jody McEvoy, Daneil Hogan, Brian Kenny, Stephen Swan. We have coined it the Nine-Legged Cycle. We will be joined by Deirdre Hardiman, Siobhan Turley, Michelle Maher and Martina Kenny on the leg back to Clonfert,” he said.
Reflecting on his 2004 farm accident, Flanagan said: “People can go down the route of poor mental health after an accident but there’s no point in beating around the bush.
“You need to get out and get active if you can. When I lost my leg, I remember I came out of the hospital and said I need to get on with it and do whatever I could to get on with my life. I have not had a bad day since the accident.
“After the accident, I became interested in the gym and exercise and I fell into cycling. It was something different. I cycle every day. I do it for the health benefits. I’m no different to anyone else.
“I went back working after two or three months. I was doing silage the next summer. I cut my own timber and I shoot pheasants.”
The Nine-Legged Cycle is raising funds through an idonate page. Donations can be made here.
Speaking of his hopes for the campaign, Flanagan said: “Our goal is to raise €5,000 for each cause. All proceeds go to the charities and the national school. We are doing it for the joy of it.”