A CARING mum and dad from The Loup who were inspired to raise cash for autism by their seven year-old son, have helped secure specialist GAA funding for autistic kids.
Edel and Shane McFlynn approached the Derry County Board for help when their son Caolan encountered problems when trying to train with his local club.
The complex needs of autism means that Caolan, like all children with autism, requires trained and educated professionals to give a helping hand in areas such as sport. After realising the difficulties that their son and other autistic children faced, the couple appealed to the GAA to help and were delighted to be told that funding would be made available to clubs across County Derry and Tyrone. The news means that traine dprofessionals will be on-hand to help children with autism train at local clubs.
The news has spurred not only Shane and Edel on to raise further cash for autism, but a host of local sporting clubs too.
A special fundraising dance stretching across two nights will take place next month.
‘Just Dance Autism’ will take place on Saturday October 13 and Sunday October 14th at Ardboe Parish Hall and will involve clubs from across Derry and Tyrone.
St Patrick’s Loup, Ballinderry Shamrocks, Lavey, O’Donavan Rossa, Magherafelt and Springhill Boxing Club Moneymore, will join Tyrone clubs Derrylaughan GAC, Ardboe, Moortown, Cookstown Father Rocks and Naomh Colmcille, Clonoe for the special night. A team from Rainey Old Boys, Magherafelt has also been confirmed to take part.
Speaking at the launch night on Monday at Ardboe Parish Hall, ‘Just Dance Autism’ PRO Geraldine Doyle explained: “Each team will have four players who will dance with two ladies, the ladies are involved with Autism - they either have a sibling or family member with autism or else they work with these children.
“The team who win on the night will receive a set of jerseys sponsored by O’Neills for their club.”
Geraldine added: “Just Dance Autism is a charity event that has been organised by Shane and Edel McFlynn, they have a child with autism, and know the challenges that this entails.
“What they really wanted was that their son could take part in football with his local club St. Patrick’s GAC Loup. This actually proved to be a lot harder than anyone could imagine.
“To be able to work with children with Autism, you need to be educated, by people who have worked with them and know all the traits etc that the child has. Special training is required, so when they contacted the Derry County Board to see if they could help, the response was amazing, the children’s officer contacted GAA Headquarters in Croke Park, and they have agreed to fund training in Derry and Tyrone Clubs, so that children with autism will be able to go to training in their local club and that they will have people trained to work with these children.
“This means they get the chance to enjoy the sport like everyone else. This is the first time that a sporting organisation has got behind Autism NI.
“We feel that this is a great achievement and we would like to thank the GAA for funding the training that is required.
“We would also like to thank all the dancers who have given up their time for such a worth wile cause, it means a lot to us.”
All proceeds from both dance nights on October 13th and October 14th will go towards Autism Mid-Ulster.
Tickets are priced at £12. For more information or tickets contact (028) 79418751.