A WIRRAL salesman will cycle almost 100 miles across Ireland’s toughest terrain to fund research into a life-threatening genetic disorder affecting his young god-daughter.
Jonny Garnon, from Bromborough, will set off on September 4. The journey will take him through the towering Wicklow Mountains – the country’s highest upland area.
As he pedals along, the 32-year-old will have four-year-old Olivia McQuinn in mind. He describes the brave tot as ‘an inspiration’ for the way she has battled against crippling cystic fibrosis since birth.
Affecting vital organs in the body, especially the lungs and the digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus, cystic fibrosis claims the lives of three children in this country each week.
Jonny works for Sky sales stand at Pyramids Shopping Centre in Birkenhead and will be joined on the trek by colleague David Dickson, from Chester.
He said: “Neither Dave or myself are seasoned cyclists so this event is a massive task. But we wanted a big event so people would want to get involved and donate to a really important cause.
“Olivia’s life is much harder than it should be, but she never complains and is always happy and always smiling.
“She has had to have all kinds of treatment ever since she was born and has been back and forward to hospital but she takes it all in her stride and is just an inspiration.”
Olivia’s mum, Michelle McQuinn, said: “Olivia was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was six weeks old and it was a shattering blow.
“I’d just had this beautiful new baby and it was like someone had given me a death sentence.
“We then missed out completely on the first two years of Olivia’s life because we spent all our time finding out about cystic fibrosis, working out her medication and going to hospital appointments.
“But since then we’ve managed to adapt to it. Most of the time Olivia is okay but the problem is to keep her chest clear.
“As her condition is life-limiting we take it one day at a time but because it’s a progressive illness with no cure she is getting worse as she gets older.
“That’s why it’s so important that people like Jonny help to raise awareness of the condition by doing things like the cycle ride in Ireland, which also raises money for research and hopefully, one day in the not too distant future, they’ll find a cure.
“I think what Jonny is doing is fabulous and it’s so kind of him to be thinking of Olivia and people like her. wish him all the very best with his challenge.”