Dromara brothers are getting on their bikes to raise money for charity in memory of their dad

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Exam season is difficult at the best of times, but the month of June 2022 is one, two brothers from Dromara, will never forget.

It was when they were told, their dad had a terminal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and had only ‘a few small weeks to live.’

Two years later, the boys, Fraser Harrower now (20) and Alex Harrower (16) will be temporarily setting their studies aside to lead out an epic endurance cycling event #PedalThePeriphery in their dad, Paddy’s name.

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It was started last year by their mum, Andrea Harrower and aunty, Cathy Booth who cycled 480 miles in 48 hours raising over £100k for research and awareness in 80 countries world-wide.

Alex and Fraser are launching this year's #PedalThePeriphery in memory of their dad. Pic credit: NIPancAlex and Fraser are launching this year's #PedalThePeriphery in memory of their dad. Pic credit: NIPanc
Alex and Fraser are launching this year's #PedalThePeriphery in memory of their dad. Pic credit: NIPanc

The original idea was Paddy’s. The former PE teacher from Wallace High School, sports fanatic and endurance enthusiast, wanted ‘something good’ to come out of his terminal cancer diagnosis.

His sons will pick up the mantle on the weekend of June 7 to 9 to lead out what has now become a relay event open to the public from the Titanic Slipways. They are cycling as part of #TeamNIPANC entered by NI’s only local pancreatic cancer charity.

Up to ten teams are taking part in what is hoped to become an annual legacy event for the charity. It is in memory of Paddy and Cathy’s schoolfriend of 30-years Natalie Wilson who also died of the disease.

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One of the relay teams taking part in #PedalThePeriphery. Pic credit: NIPancOne of the relay teams taking part in #PedalThePeriphery. Pic credit: NIPanc
One of the relay teams taking part in #PedalThePeriphery. Pic credit: NIPanc

Andrea Harrower said: “It was Friday, June 17, 2022 and approaching the weekend of Father’s Day when we had to tell Fraser and Alex about Paddy’s terminal diagnosis.

"It was the hardest thing we ever had to do keeping news from the boys their dad was dying but we had to wait until Fraser finished his last A-level to give him the best chance of getting the grades he needed.

"By then we knew ‘nothing could be done; and ‘Paddy had only a few small weeks to live’. It was absolutely devastating because we knew the boys’ lives would change forever.”

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Fraser, now studying Aeronautical Engineering at Queen’s University in Belfast, said: “I was so happy to be finished my last A Level. I got home with Alex from it and happy didn’t last too long. Mum and dad came home. I don’t really remember anything. I was standing up and I had to sit down. I don’t remember anything at all.”

Alex said: “It was the Friday afternoon of Father’s Day weekend. Fraser and I had just got in from school and Fraser’s last A Level. I was in the lounge and my new rugby boots had arrived and I was messing about with the studs. Mum and dad walked in looking awful and said there is something we have to tell you. Everything after that is a blur.”

Fraser added: “It was hard starting Queen’s in September because he wasn’t there for that milestone but also because I only got to do what I want at Uni because he protected me from the upset of his diagnosis and let me do my A Levels the best I could. It’s because of him I got the A level grades I needed and I am where I am. I wish he was still here.”