Rev-Up4DSI charity run a huge success and did Aidan proud

MotorbikesBy Finn Gillespie
(Pic: Brain Farrell)
(Pic: Brain Farrell)

THE woman was curious about the two bikers queueing beside her in McDonald’s last Saturday.

“Are you with that motorcycle run in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland?” she asked.

The bikers confirmed that, yes, they were part of the Rev-Up4DSI charity run.

“This fella wants to pay for your coffees,” she said, pointing to another man in the queue.

That sums up in a nutshell what a great event Rev-Up4DSI has become.

It’s not just about raising scarce funds to help those affected by Down syndrome. 

It’s achieved an equally important goal: to raise awareness of the mammoth work carried out by the staff at Down Syndrome Ireland and the volunteers who tirelessly devote their time to the charity.

This year’s run set off once again from Joe Duffy Motorrad in Finglas, Dublin, for a three-day mystery tour taking in some of the best roads in Ireland.

Participants raise a minimum of €500 each – there were 140 riders and 40 pillions this year – and the amount raised after last weekend’s event stands at €100,000, with more donations still coming in.

Since the first Rev-Up4DSI in 2005, more than €1.7million has been raised for Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI).

The event was co-founded in 2005 by then chief executive of DSI Michael McCormick and fellow biker and parent Aidan Lynam.

Aidan tragically lost his life last year on the 10th-anniversary Rev-Up.

As usual, this year the routes were meticulously researched.

After leaving Joe Duffy Motorrad on the Saturday, we headed for Trim in Co. Meath, on to Athboy, through Kells, on up to Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, and over to Clones.

From there it was into Northern Ireland (the route map had a note that said ‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore’), through Eniskillen, skirting the south shores of Lough Erne, then heading south from Belleek and crossing the Border again for a lovely run to Sligo via Manorhamilton and Dromahair.

The Clarion Hotel in Sligo was our base for two nights, where weary but happy participants, support crew and families shared tales of their journey.

Sunday saw us heading through the lovely hills of Donegal.

After rolling out of the hotel, we first went for photos to the picturesque Mullaghmore, against the backdrop of the iconic Classiebawn Castle and Ben Bulben mountain.

Then it was up to Donegal along the Wild Atlantic Way, taking in Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal town, Killybegs, and over to Glencolmcille.

It was just before midday at this point and our group, like every other group of participants wherever they were on the route, stepped off the bikes to remember Aidan Lynam, a remarkable husband, father, biker, pioneering fundraiser and friend.

After lunch in Glenties, we retraced part of the day’s route before heading into Northern Ireland once again, skirting the north shores of Lough Erne before heading south to Enniskillen and west into the Republic and back to Sligo.

An event of this size is an organisational and logistical minefield.

On Sunday night during dinner in the hotel, some of those who have continued this good work, and others who stepped up to help fill the huge void left in the wake of Aidan’s passing, were honoured.

Rob Bright, fundraising project manager with DSI, took over as the main organiser of the event, a tall task indeed. BMW Motorrad’s continued support was acknowledged, as was Joe Swords, who once again raised in excess of €5,000 in sponsorship for a single event.

Alan McCaffrey, Aidan’s best friend and a long-time supporter of RevUp, also received a special mention.

Aidan’s wife Nicky, sons Jake (14) and Harry (8), and daughter Robyn (11), were also there alongside other members of Aidan’s family and friends. Their presence was a poignant reminder of how he would have wanted the event to continue.

Day three’s route brought the run east to the south shores of Lough MacNean, then south through Glangevlin, west to Dowra, south along the east shores of Lough Allen to Drumshanbo.

From there, it was south-east along a circuitous succession of beautiful biking roads towards Dublin.

At the Spa Hotel in Lucan, Co. Dublin, stories were swapped, a few tears were shed and a resolute determination to continue Aidan’s good work for years to come was affirmed.

Another year. Another huge success. More than €100,000 raised. Aidan’s show goes on.