A DUNGANNON golfer who picked up gold at the Special Olympics in Athens two years ago, has given his support to a special fundraising collection by the organisation throughout Ireland.
Patrick Donnelly helped to launch the Special Olympics Ulster Annual Collection Day, which takes place this Friday, April 26, across Northern Ireland.
Staff from Medicare will hold a week long collection at its three Dungannon stores - Donaghys (Newell Stores), Medichem and Dolans Pharmacy - and will also stage a raffle for a hamper on collection day in a bid to raise vital funds to support the sports charity’s work in the Ulster region.
The fundraising drive is part of the wider Special Olympics Ireland Annual Collection Day, which will see thousands of volunteers take to streets of towns and cities across Ireland to raise money for Special Olympics.
Patrick’s mum, Catherine, told the Tyrone Times she was delighted to be supporting the fundraising campaign.
Catherine explained her gold medal winning son remains committed to his training regime in golf and swimming.
“Patrick has a competition coming up in May and the four year cycle starts again”, continued Catherine.
“He trains every Monday night at swimming and golf two or three nights every week. He just loves it, and it is great for him meeting so many different people through the clubs he goes to.
“In fact, it is only through Patrick that we have been able to meet so many people and visit so many new places.”
Also lending his support to the Collection Day, Michael Guerin, Managing Director of the MediCare Pharmacy Group said: “We are delighted to be able to provide donation points for the Special Olympics Ulster’s annual collection day at all our branches in Tyrone and I have no doubt, as always our customers will show their generous support.
“We would also like to congratulate Special Olympics Ulster in the work they do in providing sporting opportunities for all athletes to attain their goals.
“As a pharmacy group providing health care in the community, we are fully aware of the importance of regular exercise in ensuring the health and well-being of everyone.”
The aim of the Collection Day is to raise funds to support the programme of sports training and competition opportunities offered by Special Olympics across Ulster, so that every person with an intellectual disability has the opportunity to reap the rewards of participating in sport.
Shaun Cassidy, regional director with Special Olympics Ulster, added:
“Special Olympics Ulster currently supports over 2,043 athletes in Ulster, with year-round activities in 98 clubs across the region.
“Our Annual Collection Day on Friday April 26 is the biggest day in our fundraising calendar, which is why the support of companies such as Medicare is so important.
“It is thanks to the on-going support from our corporate partners and volunteers across Northern Ireland that we can raise vital funds that will allow us to continue to develop the Special Olympics programme across Ulster.”
Companies and individuals interested in getting involved or volunteering for the Collection Day can visit www.specialolympics.ie/collectionday or phone 028 9023 9023 for more information.