Doctor and professor get on their bike to join Challenge

Professor Paul Harkin
Professor Paul Harkin

A Drumbo doctor and a Hillsborough professor are to join a team from the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre to take part in a 1,000 cycle across Spain.

Dr Seamus McAleer from Drumbo and Professor Paul Harkin from Hillsborough will join 21 doctors, nurses, patients and staff to take part in a bid to raise £50,000 for local charity, Friends of the Cancer Centre.

Dr Seamus McAleer

Dr Seamus McAleer

The ten day expedition will see the team endure humidity, as well as tackling altitude and some tough mountains.

It starts in Seville on the September 14, where nine of the group will cycle north to Salamanca.

They will then join the rest of the group to pedal north towards the finish line in Santiago.

Some of the group are seasoned cyclists while others have just taken up cycling this year.

Dr Seamus McAleer, consultant oncologist and clinical director of the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre, is leading the charge and having already organised and taken part in five cycles in aid of Friends of the Cancer Centre over the last 16 years, he knows what’s in store for the group.

“The Camino Cycle Challenge will be my sixth cycling event in aid of Friends of the Cancer Centre and since the last one was back in 2011,” he said.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back in the saddle, getting on the road and raising money for the charity.

“As fun and exciting as the cycle will be, we can’t lose sight of why we are doing this. Working in the Cancer Centre, I see hundreds of patients and I see the devastating effect cancer has on their lives and their family.

“There is light however, and the Cancer Centre is one of the best facilities in the world.”

Professor Paul Harkin, MD of Almac Diagnostics, said: “I’ve been cycling for about five years and my interest was initially sparked by my love of triathlons.

While I’ve competed in at least a dozen triathlons, one half Ironman and at least six cycling sportives, I’m not underestimating the challenge that lies ahead.

“As well as the personal challenge, I wanted to take part as we will be supporting a great local charity that does so much to support people affected by cancer.

“My passion lies in cancer research and Friends of the Cancer Centre plays a really important role in supporting some of the latest research and clinical trials.

“I know that with every kilometre we will be one step closer to our fundraising target and that will more than make up for tired legs.”

Anyone interested in donating can go to