Longford athlete John Paul Shaw who recently competed for Team Ireland in floorball at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.
Special Olympics Ireland are issuing a call for their annual Collection Day in Longford on Friday, May 5 to help transform lives through sport. This year’s theme is ‘Currently Seeking Superheroes’ with the goal of recruiting volunteers to help on the day and inspiring the wider community to give what they can.
Special Olympics has a long history in the O’Farrell County. Longford athlete John Paul Shaw recently competed for Team Ireland in floorball at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.
Connacht Regional Director Myra Merrick explained the importance of sport in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities like John Paul.
“Special Olympics Ireland is first and foremost a sports organisation for people with an intellectual disability, but it provides athletes with far more than the physical benefits of sport. Every day we see athletes demonstrate courage, experience joy and share long lasting friendships.”
Athletes from as young as six can train in a chosen sport and ultimately improve their quality of life. Athletes’ families build an invaluable network of friendship and support, but money raised through the annual Collection Day is critical to the future of the programme. This year’s goal is to raise €650,000 on May 5.
“We need 150 people to help in Longford alone,” said Merrick. “If that many volunteers can spare a couple of hours to rattle a bucket, we’ll be a long way to meeting our target. Collection Day is the only day in the year where a call is issued for every community to support Special Olympics Ireland at the same time. There will be lots of coffee mornings, bag packs and fun events to get involved in too.”
Special Olympics Collection Day is once again proudly supported by eir. Open eir Wholesale Managing Director Carolan Lennon says every cent counts again in 2017.
“Special Olympics really does transform lives through sport, but it’s not possible without Collection Day,” she said. “It starts with recruiting volunteers to lend a hand on May 5 and eir employees will be among the thousands who will play their part in towns, cities and villages across Ireland.”
People looking to volunteer can register their interest at www.specialolympics.ie/ collectionday. Anyone who is unable to volunteer is asked to give what they can on the day or make a donation online
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