The mother of an eight-year-old boy has spoken passionately about the fantastic supports Down Syndrome Mayo offer to families and about the importance of fundraising.
Paula Dunne, who is eager for Coinneach and other children to benefit and receive the timely assistance and intervention, said September is a vital fundraising period for them.
The ’30 Kilometres in 30 Days’ challenge is Down Syndrome Mayo’s biggest charity event of the year and three years ago €24,000 was collected and they are seeking to raise another significant amount.
The funds raised help to cover activities, outings, therapies, courses, education seminars, webinars and all money will stay in Mayo to enable them to help their members.
Paula’s Dunne has been the treasurer of Down Syndrome Mayo for four years and she has appealed to the public to help.
“The month of September has always been our fundraising month, pre-Covid it would have been the church gate collection.
“And then since Covid we stated this, and I suppose this is our third year running 30 kilometres in 30 days because it came about due to the pandemic as a way to be able to do a fundraiser.
“It’s been hugely successful, the first year we raised the guts of €24,000 and last year we ran it slightly differently and we had people sign up and they got medals and t-shirts and we brought in a bit less.”
Paula, from Kiltimagh, said this year they have returned to the old format of ‘if you’d like to do it, please do it’.
“The idea came about because our members are individuals with Down Syndrome so no matter a person’s ability, we’re asking them to do a kilometre a day or as much as their able to do really.
“And it can be done anyway, walking, cycling, running, or swimming and we have gymnastics going on at the moment and it all adds up towards the kilometres.
“We offer support to individuals with Down Syndrome in Mayo and their families, and that support takes the form in tons of different things webinars, seminars, classes, arts and crafts, art movement, Numicon (used to teach mathematics in a visual capacity) and private therapy subvention, that’s one of our biggest supports.
“We help subsidise private therapy for members who are not getting what they need, and all the money will go back into that.
“We all know waiting lists are huge, Covid’s had a huge impact on the services and therapies that are being provided and we’re helping parents to catch up by giving them money to cover the cost of private therapy.
“That’s a huge thing and to give you examples of classes we’ve run cookery classes in the past, we’ve run lámh classes for parents, it’s a baby sign language that we use as a means of communication with our younger members.
“We offer a lot of support for families, and we have mindfulness sessions with parents, and we’ve run webinars and seminars on mental health.
“Then you have the fun things like the summer outings.
“Our youngest would be four months and our oldest would be 57 so it’s very much young and old.”