By Freeman Butland
Kieran Whelan of Parkers Cove lay dying of cancer in his Soldiers Memorial Hospital bed last April when he told his visiting good friend, Bruce Keevill, he had a last wish. He wanted to do something to say thank you to all the wonderful people in the Valley hospitals who worked so hard to make his final days more comfortable.
The word went out and the offers for help poured in. A guy who lives his life as a boyish adventure makes a lot of friends. An avid cyclist who pedalled across both Canada and the US, Kieran was a member of Cyclepaths, a local cycling group who were among the first to offer help. Kieran’s love of cycling is perhaps best demonstrated in a song he wrote which you probably haven’t heard but was actually broadcast on CBC radio, “Put Me Ashes in Me Bike Pump When I Die.” The lyrics are an undeniable link to his early life in Labrador.
Some people beat cancer and some don’t. Kieran’s early signs were not good. Each Christmas he used to pedal around town to deliver goodies to his friends but last year he made the trip by truck. When the treatments and medications got intense he set up a blog to keep friends and family advised of what was going on. It was an in-depth study of the whole process, all delivered with good humour. “They were fun and interesting reading,” reports one recipient, “I was actually looking forward to receiving them. He was amazing.”
When Kieran died on May 1 of this year, it was plausible that the last wish for an effort to, as he put it, “Squash the Bug,” would go with him. Not so. A group had been organized and was planning long before his death. It would be a fundraiser to reflect the magnitude of their feelings for this beautiful man.
The Annapolis Royal Fire Department hall was donated for the entire day and there will be a whole day of activities to fill it. There will be long bike rides (of course), in-town hikes, activities for children, food throughout the day, entertainment, a silent auction – in all, a family fun fundraiser with something for everyone.
In keeping with Kieran’s wishes, the cost to participants will be by free will offering. All money collected will go to the Valley Regional Hospital Foundation for the aid, care and treatment of cancer patients in the hospice and palliative care centre. The date is Saturday, July 14 beginning with a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. For full details, visit the website at http://flattire.bugsquat.net – events, or look for the posters around town.