So, who is Peter Ryan?

Peter Ryan would say he had a life which was simple and carefree, with the most pressing thing is his life being winning matches and spending time with friends. Apart from his friends and family, Peter had a great passion for sports. In fact, sports has shaped Peter’s life, as he put it himself, he learnt to be the best and worst version of himself out there on the field.

Peter’s passion was taken to the next level at the age of 18 where he played Hurling and Football for Tipperary. However, aged 20, Peter started to realised that he was making a few to many mistakes when driving or playing sports and that he probably needed his eyes tested.

When playing Hurling for Tipperary, a pivotal moment would changed his life forever. Peter reached his hand out to catch a ball, something he had done an infinite amount of times and had taken for granted. This time, the ball he went to go and catch missed his hands, flying past him, far from where Peter had anticipated. Later, Peter was diagnosed with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON).

Over 14 months, Peter lost 90{972b48592213a99f919a22d81d2251314abb0ff5f034e7689eea4a3e54c4439c} of his vision in both eyes and his world was rapidly changing around him. Anger, frustration and negativity encompassed Peter’s thoughts and mindset as the world he knew slipped away from him.

Looking back, Peter had three parts of himself that made up his daily life: sports, work and socialising. Two out of the three things in his life were quickly being taken away from him- leaving him with the time to socialise and do a lot of it!

The second part of Peter’s life, his love of sport, was rekindled and helped him on his journey towards rebuilding his life. The journey back began with a trip to UCD for a Paralympics Open Day in 2012, where he undertook a test on a wattbike which was to prove that he was a capable cyclist. Today, Peter is the stoker of a formidable two man cycling team with Sean Hahessy as the pilot. The two, having been paired together via the national para-cycling programme since 2015, have already made their mark on the Irish Cycling circuit having competed in the Paralympics in Rio in 2016.

Ultimately, his family and friends were the only part of his life that still reflected ‘normality’. They were always there even when Peter wasn’t the vibrant guy we know now. This is why helping families like the Doran’s and the Gleeson’s is so important.

PETER RYAN

So, who is Seán Hahessy?

Seán is a member of Carrick Wheelers cycling club and is a graduate currently Sports Coaching and Performance in Waterford IT. Taking on the responsibility of the piloting the Tipperary duo brings with it responsibility and a lot of sacrifice for Seán, particularly on the individual racing scene where he’d undoubtedly excel also. That said his devotion to being Peters pilot has developed Seán into a world class tandem pilot. As the pilot for a tandem cycling, Seán's career highlight to date was finishing third in the Under 23 2015 National Championships. He is now working hard with Peter towards their combined vision of winning Paralympic Gold in Tokyo 2020.