A great line up rolled with Spinal Injuries Ireland for A Day In My Wheels

25 people from the business, political and celebrity arena took on the challenge to spend a day in a wheelchair on Thursday 30th September.  The event organised by Spinal Injuries Ireland kicked off with a breakfast in CHQ, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1 where the participants were given their wheelchairs, some basic wheelchair skills and sent off to navigate their day from a completely new perspective.

Celebrities taking on the challenge included broadcasters Lorraine Keane, Andy Preston and Clare McKenna and actor/comedian Joe Rooney.  Minister Josepha Madigan and Cathaoirleach of DLRCOCO Lettie McCarthy also put their shoulders to the wheel in support of those in Ireland living with a spinal cord injury.

The inaugural ‘A Day In My Wheels Challenge’ was also well supported in its first year by the business community.  Entrepreneurs Bobby Healy, CEO and Founder of Manna, and Devan Hughes, CEO and co-founder of Buymie were joined by Anna McHugh, Head of Corporate Communications with An Post, John Coroner of Ethos Engineering and David Kerr, Accessibility Ambassador and Disability Advocate with Microsoft.  Bus Eireann were well represented with Allen Parker, Chief Customer Officer and Rory Leahy, Chief Safety and Sustainability Officer both taking on the challenge while Ronan Murphy, Head of Customer Experience represented Irish Rail.

Renowned PR Queen Valerie Roe knew that it would be a difficult challenge and enlisted the help of her friend Olan McGowan as a guide.  Olan, a wheelchair user, sustained a spinal cord injury in 1995 in a diving accident.

“We are delighted to have so many people willing to roll with us on the 30th September” said Spinal Injuries Ireland CEO, Fiona Bolger.  “This is a really important campaign for us from both an awareness perspective and as a much-needed fundraiser.  We currently support over 2,100 people living in Ireland with a spinal cord injury, as well as over 20,000 of their family and carers.”

Head of Fundraising Phil O’Kelly explained that “A Day In My Wheels will be an annual event that we hope will grow year on year. Our target for year one is €100K which we are well on the way to achieving”.

By taking on this challenge, the participants get a glimpse into what life in a wheelchair is like, while also helping to provide one-to-one support for people with a SCI and their families from the moment they are admitted to hospital for as long as it’s needed.

Phil goes on to say, “we call it a challenge for a reason. The participants will be challenged by accessibility issues in workplaces, shops, transport and facilities. They will learn a different way of dealing with everyday situations such as opening doors, crossing roads, and even moving about their own home. The experience will provide a whole new perspective on how people in wheelchairs are viewed and treated.”

On average 3 people in Ireland sustain a spinal cord injury every week.  It can happen to anyone at any time.

About Spinal Injuries Ireland

Spinal Injuries Ireland is the only support and service agency in Ireland for people who have sustained a spinal cord injury. According to the World Health Organisation, a spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the most devastating and life-changing injuries that a person can sustain. SII’s mission is to engage, people with a spinal cord injury, along with their family members and together, address barriers to full participation in society and empower their service users to work towards achieving personal, social and vocational goals once again.

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