Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Newry Canal Cycle takes place on 21 August 2021 | Newry Times

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Thursday, August 12th, 2021
Community, Sport, What's On

Renowned local oncologist Dr Seamus McAleer is encouraging local people to get on their bikes for Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Newry Canal Cycle on Saturday 21 August 2021.


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Dr McAleer, an oncologist at the Cancer Centre in Belfast, is no stranger to a cycling challenge, having undertaken numerous fundraising challenges for the charity over the past 35 years. 

From The Camino de Santiago in Spain to cycling the length of Ireland, Dr McAleer and his cycling friends have raised over £200,000 to support the charity’s work. 



This summer he will be getting back in the saddle as he takes part in Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Newry Canal cycle.

The cycle will see participants take on either a 22 mile or 40-mile route along the winding towpath of the Newry Canal. 

The canal, which stretches from Portadown to Newry, will give participants the opportunity to soak up its beautiful surroundings, local history, nature and wildlife while raising vital funds for the charity along the way.

With two routes to choose from, there is something to suit cyclists of all abilities. 

The longer 40-mile route starts in Portadown, making its way along the towpath to Newry and then returning to Portadown. 



The shorter 22-mile cycle will also set off from Portadown, making its way along the towpath to Poyntzpass before returning to Portadown. 

Friends of the Cancer Centre has long been a cause very close to Dr McAleer’s heart.

But this year he has a personal motivation for supporting the charity, following his own cancer diagnosis in 2019. 

Dr McAleer says, “I have a very close affiliation with Friends of the Cancer Centre and have been involved in its work for over 35 years, most recently as a trustee. 

“I see a lot of the benefits of the charity in my day-to-day work, including the funding of additional staff, vital equipment and patient comforts. 


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“It is clear to me that the charity is very important in the lives of our cancer patients.

“That’s why I feel it’s very important to help generate funds, as my patients and many others rely on the charity’s work every day.

“I also have a very personal connection to the charity.

“Last year, I found myself with some symptoms and just before COVID-19 and lockdown, I had an operation for a bowel tumour.



“That went very well and I haven’t needed any extra treatment.

“I hope that I am cured, but this is an important message for everyone.

“I would urge anyone who is experiencing symptoms or notices a change in their health, to contact their GP.

“If you are called for routine bowel or breast screening, please take the tests.

“People can also empower themselves by using self-check tools like the ones provided by Friends of the Cancer Centre.

“The charity’s Talking Balls self-check cards and Breast Bud self-check hangers provide people with step–by–step instructions on how to check their testicles or chest.”

Dr McAleer is once again getting back in the saddle as he takes part in Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Newry Canal Cycle on Saturday 21 August.

And he is calling on the local community to join him. 

He continues, “I have always loved cycling and it was also a really important part of my own recovery post-surgery. 

“I’m always keen to get back on my bike so this August, I’m taking part in the charity’s Newry Canal Cycle.

“And I am inviting people to join me, to raise money for Friends of the Cancer Centre and have a whale of a time,” he adds.

For 35 years, Friends of the Cancer Centre has been dedicated to making a real and meaningful difference to cancer patients and their families across Northern Ireland. 



The charity works to enhance the quality of patient care and support through its life-changing and life-saving work which includes funding additional nurses, supporting local research and providing practical support, such as financial grants, which can help patients through a difficult time. 

Friends of the Cancer Centre relies entirely on the generosity of the local community and all money donated stays in Northern Ireland, directly benefitting patients and their families.

To register for the Newry Canal Cycle on Saturday 21 August please click here or call (028) 90 699393. 

Registration is £5 per person with a minimum suggested sponsorship of £50. 


Keep up to date with all the latest Northern Ireland Coronavirus / Covid-19 news HERE.


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