Close the Gap Cycle

Campaigning for change article written on the 11 Oct 2013

On November 26th, 3 Irish men will take part in a self generated challenge of cycling over 1200km from Melbourne to Sydney under 5 days, all in aid of the Close the Gap campaign. Eoghan Quinn moved to Melbourne two years ago working a number of renewable energy projects here in Australia has previously under taken charity challenge cycles in Europe. In 2009 he co-founded a 6000km cycle from Ireland to Gaza raising funds for a neonatal health care fund, it was during this time I saw how one cycle could have such a positive impact.  Accompanying Eoghan on the gruelling challenge are Ed Finnegan and Gavin O’Kane.  Ed is a practising dentist on the surf coast could relate strongly from a dental perspective and the good work being carried out by the foundation. Gavin a property valuer was the last team member to jump on board. Upon arriving in Australia Gavin spent some time working in the outback where he had the opportunity to experience at first hand the healthcare conditions available to the Indigenous Australians.

Why Close the Gap?

To some extent we all have our own experiences with health care in both Ireland and Australia. Eoghan is a type 1 diabetic and was originally planning on raising money for Diabetes Australia but wanted to find a suitable charity which would also take into account Indigenous Australians, it was difficult to understand that 1 in 12 Aboriginals die from diabetes in a first world country this was hard to comprehend. “As a diabetic I am completely dependent on constant access to medicine. I wanted to use my fortunate circumstance to help those cut off from good medical treatment impacting on a diabetics quality of life.” Ed’s interest which is primarily dental care and we wanted to make sure that some cross over existed, as Ed pointed out the dental health of Indigenous Australians is poorer to that of the general populations.  This results in a poor quality of life, a social stigma associated with reduced unemployment opportunities after doing some research we found that Close the Gap ticked all the boxes.

Why Cycle

Three years on after completing the 6000km cycle Eoghan was still looking for the next challenge and cycling from Melbourne to Sydney across the Australian countryside under 5 days was definitely a good start. Representing a charity with a challenge helps the public engage in what your doing. We have certainly created a tough challenge for ourselves but hopefully the Australian public will get behind us “paddies on a bike” in aid of good cause. Training has already commenced and for the next few months ahead we will be dreaming of the finish line at the Opera House in Sydney.

The cycle is going to be a challenge of a life time and each one of us if cycling 1200km in 5 days helps get a worthy message across in raising awareness. We hope that you can dig deep in aid of the Close the Gap campaign and make our cycle worthwhile.