A Bollington businessman who has made Cheshire his adopted home is getting in the saddle to raise money for the new Christie Cancer Centre at Macclesfield

Belfast-born Ciaran Harkin was inspired to raise money for The Christie after hearing about his wife’s grandma’s treatment over recent years. As a non-native to the area, Ciaran quickly realised The Christie holds a special place in many people’s hearts across the region so decided to do all he could to support the specialist cancer hospital. And when he heard about the fundraising appeal to build a new Christie facility on his doorstep, he decided to get involved. 

Ciaran, aged 36, said: “Since I’ve been living and working in Cheshire, I’ve known so many people speak so warmly about The Christie and when my own family member was treated there, it really blew my mind what a special and important hospital it is. The new site at Macclesfield will be five minutes from me and it will make such a difference to patients in this area, saving them hours of travel and stress at what is already a difficult time. I genuinely want to give something back to the local community I now call home, and with my family connection, this seemed like a wonderful cause to support.” 

Ciaran, who runs a digital company designing apps and websites called Hark Digital, is doing a five nation cycle challenge through England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in August. He will be setting off from his home town of Bollington cycling to Wales before boarding a ferry to Ireland. From Dublin he will cycle to Ireland's most southerly point, Mizen Head, before turning around and cycling all the way up the West Coast to Malin Head, the most northern point of Ireland. En-route he will be climbing Ireland’s highest mountain Mount Carrauntoohil. 

On his way across Ireland, he will be joined by colleague Brian McCann, and the pair will cycle to Belfast before Ciaran catches his next ferry to Scotland. From Stranraer he will cycle to Gretna Green, before returning home via the Lake District and Lancashire. 

The journey will see him cover an epic 1,351 miles and climb over twice the height of Everest, riding an average of 90 miles a day. 

Ciaran, who lives with wife Hayley and step daughter Isabella, added: “I’m already in training and have just started to realise the difficulty of the challenge I’ve set myself. I’m fairly fit but I’m not a natural cyclist as my saddle sores will confirm. I’ll need to step up my training over the next few weeks and months. I hope to be joined along the way by friends and family if possible and we all want to do what we can to raise as much as possible for this important cause." 

The Christie at Macclesfield will transform cancer care in Cheshire, the High Peak area of Derbyshire and parts of North Staffordshire, providing care closer to home for more than 1,500 existing Christie patients a year. 

It will bring together essential cancer services into one purpose-built centre delivering local specialist access to radiotherapy, chemotherapy, holistic support and information services, outpatient care, palliative care and a wider range of clinical trials. Around 40,000 appointments per year will take place at the new centre.

The new facility is being funded through The Christie charity and with income for the charity down by a quarter compared with a normal year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, public support is more vital than ever.

Anna McIntosh, major relationships development manager at The Christie charity said: “Ciaran has set himself a huge challenge and we wish him the very best of luck. He is a great example of the lengths people will go to support our cause, and with our income hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have never needed our supporters more – each and every penny raised makes a difference.” 

The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families.