New Zealand man to embark on epic 2,021 km journey in aid of Galway charity

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galway daily news paul franklin spinal fusion guy walking from malin head to mizen head
Paul Franklin, Spinal Fusion Guy

New Zealander Paul Franklin is preparing to set out on an epic 2,021km journey across Ireland, walking from Malin Head to Mizen Head before cycling all the way back up to the most northerly point in Ireland.

Known as ‘the Spinal Fusion Guy’, Paul Franklin has chosen to raise funds for Galway Simon Community and Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice throughout his challenge.

Paul has been living in Ireland for four years and has completed cycling tours in 20 different countries, despite a major spinal injury which he endured when he was just 13.

Even after multiple surgeries and physical traumas throughout his life, he is determined to continue his passion of cycling, while helping to make a difference for others.

“Since before my second major spinal surgery in 2014, cycling and exercise has always been part of my life. I’ve completed cycling tours in New Zealand, Japan, Istanbul, UK and throughout a lot of Europe,” said Paul Franklin.

Paul has supported many charities throughout his cycling tours and now he explains his motivation behind the Spinal Fusion Guy Heartlands Challenge 2021 in aid of Galway Simon Community and LauraLynn.

“While it is a personal achievement, I know I will be helping those who need help and support the most, especially during these very trying times that we’ve all gone through in the last year and a half,” he added.

“I was close to being homeless at the end of 2020. I was living in a caravan through the winter and I could have been seriously close homelessness. With the help of Galway Simon Community and Tuam Welfare, I was given a lifeline.

“LauraLynn is the only hospice in Ireland to care for children with life limiting conditions and their families, and I know how valuable life is.”

Paul said that he owes not only his life to such amazing people, such as the charities he is supporting, but also owes a debt of gratitude to those who have assisted and supported him along the way.

“I will be starting from Malin Head on the 9th July and heading south, primarily through the Heartlands of Ireland following the beautiful Shannon River towards Limerick and onto Mizen Head, an estimated walking distance of 900kms,” he explained.

“Once I’m at Mizen Head, I’ll change over to my bicycle and cycle back to Malin Head, via a flexible route to make up 1,121kms which will make it a total trip of 2,021 km.”