By Claire Corrigan
Linda Gorman Fitzpatrick, along with her husband John, have devised a plan to raise much needed funds for the Longford Westmeath Down Syndrome, a parent led group for families in Longford, Westmeath and surrounding areas which provide help and support in the form of therapies, social and sporting activities for children, adults, and families.
“To mark World Down Syndrome day on the 21 March 2021 we are organising a fundraiser for our local branch which will see participants run, walk, swim or cycle (or a combination of all activities) 63km in the month of March.
All funds stay local and 100% is used to enhance and improve the lives of those with Down Syndrome. “We provide assistance with private therapies such as speech and language, life skills courses such as cookery, dance and drama classes and group activities to name a few,” she said.
The group receives no funding from the government whatsoever and all funds are raised by the branch. “Our aim is that every person with Down Syndrome will reach for their full potential and we will help them fulfil their personal goals and ensure that they are treated with the same dignity and respect as all other citizens.
We believe in the right of parents to choose services for their child with Down syndrome and, as a part of Down Syndrome Ireland will continue to work with and lobby government departments to make this right a reality for all members. All funds raised in Longford/Westmeath stay in Longford/Westmeath and we continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit of the people of our home counties. We could not do it without you,” according to Linda.
Speaking to Topic, Linda said that the branch wanted to mark World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) which is celebrated annually on the 21 March.
“The branch are now trying to help parents to pay for home tuition to get them started and do things like See and Learn, which is a programme used for children with intellectual abilities and allows them to learn visually. We have a home tutor who parents are calling on.We are also paying bursaries for Speech and Language therapy and any other therapy parents require. The more money we can raise, they more we can do.”
There’s a special reason that Linda opted for the figure 63. “Down Syndrome is caused when when Chromosome 21 is triplicated so that comes to 63 as it is three times 21. We have already 30 people signed up between branch members and family and friends. We are hoping for a bit more uptake,” Linda said of the extremely worthy cause. “Every penny we take in, goes back to the members. We don’t even take money for postage and stationary.”
For more details visit ‘63km Challenge’ on Facebook.