Charity cycle goes full-circle
4:18pm Friday 27th September 2013 in News
A LOCAL man says a gruelling 5,000 mile charity cycle challenge around the British coast may have saved his life.
Former Cardigan resident Swanny McCarthy, who now lives in Fishguard, set off from Aberystwyth on March 3 in a bid to raise a total of £15,000, to be shared between Cancer Research UK, Ty Hafan and Children with Leukaemia.
He returned to Aberystwyth last week, way ahead of his target of completing the trip before his 40th birthday on December 3.
Early into his trip Swanny experienced chest pains and went to Bridgend A&E, where it was discovered he had blood clots on his lungs.
He was given treatment and a prescription before carrying on with his challenge.
He said: “It was only due to the bike ride that I discovered I had this condition. The experience may have saved my life.”
Swanny camped during the majority of his trip, facing gale force winds, rain and sleet, but was overwhelmed by the generosity of people he met and offered him hospitality.
He said: “I’m grateful to everyone for their support and well-wishes. I met many interesting people along the way. There were many times when people opened up their hearts to me to share their stories, blessings and grievances.
“There are many good souls out there.”
He added that his bike had sustained a few ‘war-wounds’ en route, and was now in need of some TLC.
One o f the most emotional parts of his journey was a visit to Machynlleth, where he met the parents of murdered April Jones and handed over a pink scarf he had carried in her memory.
He also visited the place where his friend died three years ago.
Swanny hopes to repeat his marathon cycle before he reaches the age of 50, and once again before his 60th birthday.
He plans to give a talk about his experiences and reveal his final charity total at an event in Theatre Gwaun in the near future.
He added: “I learnt so much along the way from things people shared with me. Everyone has personal goals, you just have to follow your heart.”