Call for support for cerebral palsy charity

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In a bid to raise vital funds for a self funded local cerebral palsy charity, one Inishowen mother, whose son suffers from the condition, is hosting a fundraising quiz in the Sean Ti Bar in Greencastle tonight.

Greencastle woman Agatha Harkin, whose son AJ was diagnosed with cerebral palsy from a young age, wants to raise as much money for the Letterkenny based charity as she maintains it makes all the difference to families throughout Inishowen.

Buddy Bear, a registered charity, was set up to provide conductive education children, who suffer from cerebral palsy and other motor disorders. Conductive education was developed by the world famous Peto Institute in Budapest and as a result every year for the month of July, conductors visit the centre in Letterkenny to hold intensive therapy sessions.

Agatha says these sessions have life changing effects for many children and families.

“Unfortunately there are a lot of families in Inishowen affected by cerebral palsy, but this centre can be a great help. It provides basic learning such as sitting unsupported, feeding themselves and standing up, it makes the world of difference.”

Agatha and her husband Anthony, who live in Buncrana, take AJ to the main centre in Hungary for one month each year and with the help of conductors, their son has shown great improvement.

“AJ is coming along well, and there is no way it would have been possible without the help we have received in Hungary and through Buddy Bear. It is a lot of pressure to take him over, I’ve two other children and I just won’t be able to bring them with us, but if it was feasible to take him over their for a year I would because it makes his life so much better.”

The Inishowen family does everything they can to try and support the charity as much as possible.

“We have to raise money through quizzes and in September we’ve having a fun run in Buncrana, the money we raise tonight will help us bring AJ to Hungary and the charity at the same time. Ireland is the only country in the EU that doesn’t recognise cerebral palsy as a disability so we have to everything we can.

“Cerebral Palsy has so many different ranges from mild to severe, its not the stereotypical child in a wheelchair people might think. Thankfully AJ is milder, but it isn’t as bad as you think, I know I was pretty naive about it when we first heard, so anything we can do to raise awareness is important.”

The quiz is open to everyone and starts off at 9.30pm tonight. Quiz master for the night is Moville man Maurice McGeady.