L/R: Tracey O’Brien, Damien Carroll, Richard O Brien, Niamh O Brien, Michael Smith, Mary O'Brien, Marguerite Ryan PICTURE: PJ WRIGHT
On a very special St Stephen's day 2018, the Autism Awareness Roscrea committee had the pleasure of meeting with Niámh O'Brien and her parents Tracey, a native of Birr, and Dickie from Roscrea, who now live in Birmingham.
“We met in the Racket Hall Hotel Roscrea,” writes Marguerite Ryan, founder of Autism Awareness Roscrea.
“Niámh’s mum Tracey had contacted our chairman Damien some weeks ago informing us that Niámh, while home on her Christmas holidays wished to donate her Christmas gift money from her aunts and uncles here in Ireland to Autism Awareness Roscrea to help other children living with autism, a truly wonderful kind gesture.
“Upon meeting with Niámh it became very obvious that Niamh is a strong kind young lady.
“Niamh donated €140 to Autism Awareness Roscrea. Upon presenting Damien Carroll with her gift Niamh stressed how thankful she was for the work we as a committee are doing in our community. “We spoke at length with Niamh’s parents Tracey and Dickie and Niamh’s grandmother Mary about the triumphs Niamh has had over the past couple of years.”
Niámh holds both Gold and Bronze medals from Great Britain Special Olympics National Games in swimming, and is also a member of the Special Olympics Ski Team.
Damien Carroll and Marguerite Ryan gifted Niámh an Autism Awareness Roscrea jacket and an official training jersey in recognition of her journey and achieving such marvellous goals.
“Whilst listening to both Dickie and Tracey about the journey in securing supports for Niamh and for other children in their community, you can see the belief and positivity that Niámh and her family truly hold, making them stronger.
“To quote Tracey, ‘from pain comes courage, you must first be scared before you can be brave’, an honest view of autism in the eyes of many and together as a community we can make a difference.
“Niámh and her family will return to Roscrea in March in 2019 to participate in Autism Awareness Roscrea 40km cycle and 6km run and family walk to raise funds to create recreational activities and supports for families and children living with Autism in our community.
“There will be one special young lady that we as a committee will be cheering on that day, Niámh O'Brien.
“Thank you Niamh and family, we are truly grateful,” concluded Ms Ryan.