Moneymore grandad Danny McStravock finally gave up smoking after nearly 40 years - and has started cycling for charity.
The former civil servant has taken up the challenge to raise £2,000 for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland by cycling a mammoth 225 miles across five counties in 15 hours on Saturday July 27.
Danny, who’s married to Martina and has four children and three grand-children, is celebrating his 60th birthday in August, the same year that Cancer Focus NI is marking its 50th anniversary.
“I started smoking when I was about 18 and made many attempts to give up. Almost five years ago we had a stop smoking clinic at work which really helped and by then I definitely wanted to give up and finally managed it,” said Danny.
“I began to put on weight so I decided I would attempt to lose the pounds and get a bit fitter. I bought a second-hand road bike and began cycling. My first outing wasn’t too successful - I couldn’t get up a local hill and managed to cycle about three miles in total,” he laughed.
Undeterred, Danny started going out a few days every week and gradually built his stamina up. “In September 2015 I did my first sportive, completing 70 miles.
“ It was at that stage that I decided I wanted to give something back while I was fit and healthy. I decided to do one cycle a year for a local charity and this year my family and I chose Cancer Focus NI.”
Danny has been getting fitter and fitter by cycling, going to spin classes and running to get in shape.
Unfortunately last December he had a set-back when he came off his bike, broke a wrist, chipped a bone in his hand and had stitches in his finger. He had an operation to have a plate inserted followed by physiotherapy but is now firmly back in the saddle.
He took part in Cancer Focus NI’s FROG (Fun Run of the Glens) event on Saturday June 15 as part of his training regime.
“I particularly wanted to do something for local charities and every penny raised for Cancer Focus NI stays in Northern Ireland. This is such a good cause - so many people are affected by cancer and I’m glad I am able to help,” he said.
“I couldn’t do this without great support from work colleagues, friends and family and would like to thank everyone.”
Cancer Focus Northern Ireland is a local cancer charity working since 1969 to reduce the impact of cancer on people’s lives.
Danny has a Justgiving page if you wish to donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/danny-mcstravock3