Transition-year (TY) students are rallying behind a Barefield teenager with Cerebral Palsy to complete a 50-kilometre wheelchair push through picturesque parts of North Clare.
Nicole Norton, who is a transition-year student at St Flannan’s College, Ennis, has organised a unique fundraising initiative in aid of Clare Crusaders’ Clinic, where her mother, Ann, is managing director.
Although Nicole is confined to a wheelchair, she likes to do things herself and is anxious to raise some money for the clinic, which she attends for treatment on a regular basis.
The TY 100 Wheelchair Push is a one-day, 50-kilometre wheelchair push and walk, whereby Nicole, accompanied by her fellow transition-year students from schools across the county, will be pushed along the scenic wild Atlantic Way on Saturday, May 3.
Starting in Lahinch, the group will make their way to Ennistymon on to Lisdoonvarna, Doolin, the Cliffs of Moher and Liscannor, before finishing in Lahinch.
Throughout the walk, Nicole and her fellow students will be accompanied by a group of parents from the clinic, who plan to complete the entire 50-kilometre journey.
It is also hoped that this walk will help increase awareness and understanding among the TY students towards those in their peer group with any type of disability.
Even though each participating student will be given a sponsorship card, the clinic also hopes that students would plan their own fundraising event in their schools. This could be in the form of a cake sale, a uniform-free day or a team jersey day.
Each participant will receive a goody bag on the day, containing several items, including a Clare Crusaders t-shirt and wristband.
“We think that the students will not only find the experience hugely rewarding but it should also prove to be a very enjoyable event for all involved,” said a clinic spokesperson.
As the walk brings together a large number of TY students, the clinic hopes to attract regional and national media coverage to an event where young people are seen to be helping other young people in need of specialist services.
Founded in 2007, the Clare Crusaders’ Clinic provides free therapy to over 350 children with special needs from across Clare.
It sees a wide range of children with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, ADHD, learning, physical and mental difficulties. It operates entirely through self-generated funds by way of various fundraising initiatives and donations, with an annual operating budget of approximately €250,000.
It is managed and administered on a voluntary basis and all monies raised go entirely to providing a variety of services, which include speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and special education. Group therapy, special swimming lessons and summer camps are also provided.