Photo taken in early February at the view point of Christ the King in the Glen of Aherlow L to R Mick Hayden, Conor Ryan, Michael Hassett, John Fitzpatrick, and Noel Buckley
On Thursday, July 23 five courageous individuals from Tipperary will begin their four-day- 600KM-journey from Mizen (Co. Cork) to Malin (Co. Donegal) to raise funds for the Tipperary Branch of Down Syndrome Ireland. Selecting Down Syndrome Ireland (Tipperary Branch) as the charity partner was an easy one, as one of the cyclists Michael Hassett has a child who along with over one hundred other Tipperary families who avail of their services.
Michael will be joined on the cycle by four friends; Noel Buckley (Clonmel), John Fitzpatrick (Clogheen) Mick Hayden (Thurles) and Conor Ryan (Horse & Jockey). Whilst 600KM is no easy task, it is made easy knowing all funds raised will go to a cause which does not receive any state funding and is run on a voluntary basis by parents and families of children and adults with Down Syndrome. As of last Friday morning, they have raised €4,000 and are hoping the people of Tipperary will row in behind their efforts to reach at least €10,000 They are covering the cost of accommodation, transport, food/drinks etc. themselves which means every cent raised will go directly to the Tipperary Down Syndrome Ireland Branch.
Down Syndrome Ireland (Tipperary Branch) provide a myriad of services essential to over 100 Tipperary families and children with Down Syndrome. Catherine Cleary, chairperson of the Tipperary Ireland branch, spoke with some of the team about their services and the challenges the branch has faced:
“We provide services such as essential therapies for children and young adults with Down Syndrome. These therapies include speech and language, educational therapy, literacy courses, cookery/menu planning for healthy eating and general independent living skills, all of which are essential for children to succeed in life. We have recently purchased a building in Abbey Road Thurles which the Branch badly needed to enable it to run these therapy sessions”. In order to keep these therapies going and continue essential work, families at the centre have to fundraise on an ongoing basis at their own expense; Covid-19 has been a major challenge for the charity and stifled its fundraising efforts but Catherine Cleary is delighted this charity cycle will bring in much needed funds; “The Branch was delighted when the group proposed this major fundraising drive as it will provide much needed funds as we fit out our new building”.
The five-person team have been busy training since January and will have completed over 18,000 KM between them in training by the time July 23rd arrives. They will cycle an average of 150 KM a day, breaking up the journey in four stages; Mizen to Mallow; Mallow to Birr; Birr to Enniskillen; Enniskillen to Malin. The Tipperary Centre for Independent Living are providing a backup van and Anthony Daly of Clonmel has kindly offered his services free as a driver. The team would like to extend their gratitude to friends, family and the business community who have helped them raise €4,000 to date, and appeal to all Tipperary families to support this worthy cause over the next few weeks.
HOW TO DONATE
To facilitate members of the public and business community donating to this charity fundraiser the group have set up an iDonate page https://www.idonate.ie/ fundraiser/11383485_mizen- to-malin-cycle-for-down- syndrome-ireland-tipperary- branch.html.
If people or businesses want to post a donation please address it to Down Syndrome Ireland, Tipperary Branch, Sweet Auburn, Abbey Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Please make cheques payable to Down Syndrome Ireland Tipperary Branch and indicate it is sponsorship for Mizen to Malin fundraiser. If businesses or members of the public want to pledge money directly or help by taking a sponsorship card they can contact Sheena Hassett (Thurles) on 087-2915695 or Noel Buckley (Clonmel) on 087-8537266.
Noel Buckley, PRO
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