Headway to benefit from Santa cycle

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE annual Santa Cycle by the Laurels Cycle Crew will take place virtually this Sunday, 6 December including an online evening event with a performance from local band Rock of Ages – all in aid of the acquired brain injury charity Headway.

Now in its 12th year, the Santa Cycle has raised over €1m for local charities through their yearly cycle, which sees hundreds of cyclists dressed as Santa Claus flood the streets of Clondalkin to the city centre and back in early December.

Photo by Codie Ryan Santa Cycle 2019 3 1

The Santa Charity Cycle passing the Four Courts last year (Photo by Codie Ryan)

While the spectacle can’t be repeated this year due to Covid restrictions, the organisers have instead made the event virtual, with the cyclists taking on individual routes and logging their miles online.

This is also the first year where the cycle is being held in aid of Headway, which has particular resonance for Derek Cummins from the Laurels Cycle Crew, as he sustained an acquired brain injury when he had a stroke seven years ago – and knows firsthand the good work that Headway does.

Derek, originally from Castle Lawns in Tallaght but living in Clondalkin for the last 30 years, told The Echo: “I had a stroke seven years ago, and it has impacted my communication.

“I had to relearn the alphabet again, and how to speak, so the support from Headway was very important.

“If, God forbid, you ever have a brain injury you know that Headway will be there to help you to rebuild.

Photo by Codie Ryan Santa Cycle 2019 1 1

The Santa Charity Cycle last year going through Clondalkin Village

“I joined the choir in Headway to help with words and speaking, and a friend of mine who had a stroke, whose communication is really bad, sings really well with the choir. It just all clicks for her when she’s singing.”

He added: “I was absolutely delighted when they told me that this year’s cycle was going to be in aid of Headway, it’s great to give something back to them and raise awareness that they’re there.”

This year’s Santa Cycle will be held at 5:pm, Sunday, December 6, and Derek said that people who walk or run or use a wheelchair are also welcome to take part in the virtual event and clock up some miles without a bike in aid of Headway.

Tickets to take part in the Santa Cycle, or to join the group Zoom event at 5pm on the afternoon of the cycle, when Rock of Ages will perform a virtual concert, are available for €10 each on Eventbrite at www.tinyurl.com/LaurelsCycle.

“We’re excited to be part of the Santa Cycle again this year,” added Derek. “We’re expecting over 500 Santas to join us this year and to raise vital funds for an extremely important cause.

“As someone with an acquired brain injury myself I know the great work Headway does. It’s always such a lovely day and a great way to start Christmas.”

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