A MAN who is recovering after an horrific fall from his bike eight weeks ago is organising a charity cycle for the Air Ambulance, after they got him from Schull to Cork city in 18 minutes.
Darren Lynch, captain of O’Donovan Rossa’s junior hurling team in Skibbereen, was one of over 400 cyclists taking part in the Mizen Looper charity cycle from Drimoleague to Mizen Head on July 24th.
The 32-year-old from Caheragh, was an hour into the cycle, just outside of Schull, when he blacked out and fell from the bike, with his face taking 100% of the impact.
A fellow cyclist saw his unaccompanied bike on the road and discovered him over a wall, lying unconscious in scrubland.
Emergency services were alerted and Darren came around when he was lying on a stretcher. Given the potential severity of his injuries, the Air Ambulance was tasked.
‘The helicopter landed just as the ambulance was entering the pitch in Schull, it was so well co-ordinated,’ he recalled. ‘The level of care I got even inside the Air Ambulance, the peace of mind, I still can’t find the words to explain how much it means to me. From the moment the Air Ambulance arrived, I felt like I was in safe hands and that it was the start of my road to recovery. Schull is 100km from Cork city, which is at least an hour-and-a-half by road. I was in Cork in 18 minutes, we landed in Bishopstown and I was brought straight to A&E, where I had x-rays, CT and MRI scans. Thankfully, my scans were clear. If they hadn’t been, and I hadn’t been brought to hospital so quickly, we could have been dealing with a very different outcome,’ he said.
Darren underwent surgery for his facial injuries which included a broken nose, damaged teeth and lip, and spent four days in hospital.
It was while the agricultural advisor at Drinagh Co-op was recovering at home that he came up with the idea of the fundraiser with his friends.
‘It’s important for me to turn a negative situation into a positive one. I’m almost fully recovered now, thanks to all the emergency services, medical professionals and fellow cyclists who helped me that day. We know that the Irish Community Air Ambulance is only called to serious emergencies and that each mission costs around €3,500 which has to be fundraised or donated. The charity cycle is an opportunity for me to thank them for the care they gave me and hopefully help fund some of its life-saving missions in the future.
‘You don’t realise the importance of this service until it impacts you or someone close to you. I want to use this experience to show that I am a survivor, that I came out the other end and that it could have been far worse. I want people to see that no matter how hard it seems at the time, the comeback will always be greater than the setback.’
Darren hopes to get back in the saddle in the future and for now is hoping to lead out O’Donovan Rossas in the upcoming county semi-final against Belgooly.
Micheál Sheridan, Irish Community Air Ambulance chief executive, said: ‘It means a great deal to us when we see former patients of ours doing so well and for Darren to be organising a charity event so soon after his accident really is inspiring.’
The 60km charity cycle will take place on Saturday October 2nd. Starting and finishing in Skibbereen, it is suitable for cyclists of all abilities. Registration begins at 9.30am on the day with a rolling start due to Covid-19 restrictions. The entry fee is €50. Donations can also be made online. See eventbrite.ie for more.