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King of Cappa won’t let cerebral palsy slow him down in charity cycle

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A Kilrush man who lives with cerebral palsy will this Saturday complete a charity cycle in aid of a vital West Clare service.

38 year old Shane King will take his MotoMed bike to The Galleon Inn for Saturday’s fundraiser with Happy Feet Happy Minds an organisation that raises money for mental health services in the area to benefit.

Affectionately known as The King of Cappa, Shane explained his reasons for deciding to do the 32km cycle. “I’ve had cerebral palsy since the third week I was born, I got meningitis with it and that’s why I’m in the chair. This is why I’m motivated to do the cycle, I’m not just doing it for mental health, I’m trying to show people that people with disabilities can do something for themselves, it’s not all about getting people to give you a hand, it’s about doing something for yourself and trying”.

Since January he has been cycling 32kms most days on his MotoMed bike, not alone is the exercise strengthening his legs but also providing a deserved sense of achievement. “I’d be on a high, I would be fairly tired, it would take about 10 minutes to get me tired but it is coming towards the end you start to struggle. Some days are good days some days are bad days but this has kept me focused since January ”.

“I go to the gym every Wednesday and I do an hour’s training on the bike and the rest of the week I’m training here in the afternoon and I’ve been doing it since January. I’m delighted with the way things have worked out and I’m hoping to smash records on Saturday in front of a lot of people. Hopefully I can do a lot more of these because it has really given me a lot of spirit to do other events,” he told The Clare Echo.

Friends of his have suffered with depression but for King he constantly portrays a positive outlook on life even amidst his various daily challenges along with the highs and lows of being a Liverpool supporter. “I’ve always been a firm believer that people like myself could always do things. I genuinely feel sorry for people with mental health problems, people would say to me ‘how is it you manage to go along with a smile on your face the whole time’ and I’d say ‘you just have to do what you can do like’. This is another reason to do it because it has given me inspiration to know that I can do things. I’ve never been one to be negative”.

Many individuals that travelled Shane’s journey would struggle to stay so upbeat but his resilience has ensured he is well able for any obstacle. “I always say every morning as long as you can wake up it’s a great day”. “It’s all down to the attitude and how you live your life. No one should be telling anyone with a disability how to live, nobody should be pushing anyone to do what they don’t want to do, you have to be ready to do it like me with the cycle. When I got the bike in April I wasn’t ready to do a challenge then but I knew I would after some training sessions but I didn’t think it would take off as much as it has but it has only given me more momentum to go on and do more things but we’ll see how we get on after Saturday, if I can do one event maybe I can do more down the line”.

Doing physiotherapy from an early age has benefited Shane while his strength is maintained by sessions three times a week. “Sometimes the legs can have bad days and they just don’t want to do much but I don’t have that mindset of I don’t want to do it today, as long as I’m motivated to do it I’ll do it, that has always been the case and always will be”.

His mother, Mary acts as a full-time carer and is incredibly proud of her son’s decision to do the cycle. “Sometimes I would be moaning and he would say to me what you do if you were in this chair, you can wake up and get out of your bed you should be glad to be alive, he’s got a great attitude. I think the lord has given him a great grace as well, I can’t take that from God because I’ve prayed for years and he has a great attitude, he has never been down and out”.

Initially €1000 was the target for Shane but as ever he defied the odds with donations constantly streaming in via GoFundMe and other sources. He’s keen to smash records and raise valuable funds, when Saturday’s cycle concludes he will undoubtedly be tired but he will be deservedly lauded and applauded in his kingdom called Cappa.

IN THE CLARE ECHO NEXT WEEK WE SPEAK TO SHANE & MARY ON WAYS TO IMPROVE WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBILITY & SERVICES

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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