Dublin dad, 61, takes on 330km River Shannon kayak challenge for Parkinson’s Ireland


Stock Photo, tags: parkinson's - paddle4parkinsons.ie

Determined despite his battle with Parkinson’s disease, Frank Mullen, a resilient father from Dublin, has set his sights on a remarkable journey down the River Shannon. Embarking on a challenging 300km paddle, Frank aims to raise funds for Parkinson’s Ireland over ten days starting June 28, 2024.

Despite receiving his diagnosis just last year, the 61-year-old resident of Donabate remains undeterred, embracing life with unwavering vigor.

In an interview with Dublin Live, Frank shared his motivation, stating, “I kayak because I’m involved with a local sea scout troop here in Donabate, and many of our activities revolve around water and paddling. When I was speaking with the neurologist after my diagnosis, he advised me to continue with my fitness regimen, encouraging me to intensify my efforts.

In today’s context, exercise has increasingly been recognized as a potent medicine. As an avid kayaker, I’ve always desired to undertake something extraordinary or demanding within the realm of paddling.

For Frank, this aspiration takes the shape of a monumental challenge: traversing 300km along the River Shannon, the longest river spanning Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales. Reflecting on his endeavor, Frank remarked, “While I may not be the inaugural or swiftest kayaker to tackle Shannon’s expanse, it marks a personal milestone in my journey.”

To cover approximately 30km daily over ten days, Frank seeks to raise an ambitious €10,000 for Parkinson’s Ireland, an organization dedicated to offering crucial assistance to individuals grappling with the condition.

Discussing his diagnosis, Frank expressed gratitude for the unwavering support extended by his family, friends, and colleagues. As Parkinson’s Awareness Week unfolds until April 14, he emphasized, “I urge anyone affected by Parkinson’s or suspects they might be to reach out to Parkinson.

They’re instrumental in disseminating invaluable insights and fostering a sense of community within the Parkinson’s sphere. My mantra remains to those facing the condition: prioritize fitness, embrace community aid, and persevere.”

Donegal Man’s Ireland Charity Trek

In a similar incident in 2012, in a remarkable display of determination and compassion, a fitness instructor from Donegal embarked on a journey spanning the breadth of Ireland to support a Parkinson’s charity. As reported by the Donegal Democrat, James McIntyre undertook an extraordinary feat encompassing running, cycling, swimming, and kayaking, all in the name of fundraising.

Setting off from Newcastle in County Down and concluding his trek in Creevy, County Donegal, McIntyre’s expedition unfolded over a weekend, encompassing diverse terrains and challenges. His itinerary featured a demanding mountain run across Sliabh Donard and the Mournes, followed by a cycling leg stretching from Annalong to Enniskillen.

Venturing onto the water, McIntyre embarked on a grueling 35km kayak journey along Lower Lough Erne to Beleek, culminating in a swim across Assaroe Lake.

In total, McIntyre covered a staggering 201km during his epic endeavor, all in support of Parkinson’s disease research, a cause deeply personal to him and his partner due to their grandfathers’ battles with the illness.

At 37 years old, McIntyre, a seasoned surf lifesaver, is no stranger to such challenges. Last year, he completed an open-sea swim of Donegal Bay, also in aid of charity. His commitment to pushing his physical limits for a noble cause inspires many.

Another incident in 2023 involved Irish adventurers trekking across Asia for charity. They ran, cycled, rafted, and kayaked over 16,000 miles along the Silk Roads to Shanghai. They raised over €30,000 for Self Help Africa.

Collins and Burns accomplished a remarkable feat by running the equivalent of 25 marathons in just 27 days while traversing Tibet to reach the source of Asia’s longest river. However, their achievement reaches unprecedented levels as they become the pioneering kayakers to navigate the perilous Yangtze from its origin to the sea.

Leave a Comment