Sligo Special Olympics looking for collectors to help on Friday

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GIVE GENEROUSLY: Participants and coaches from the Cara Special Olympics Bocce Club Sligo pictured at the launch of Special Olympics Ireland’s annual Collection Day on May 5. Pictured (l-r) are Myra Merrick (Regional Director, Special Olympics), Ailish Murphy (Coach), Geraldine Marren (Athlete), Francis Kenny (Athlete) and Trisha Burke (Coach).

Special Olympics Ireland are issuing a call for their annual Collection Day in Sligo tomorrow, Friday May 5 to help transform lives through sport.

This year’s theme is ‘Currently Seeking Superheroes’ with the goal of recruiting volunteers to help on the day and inspiring the wider community to give what they can.

Special Olympics has a long history in Yeats country. Regional Advancement events are taking place throughout Connaught and the county is well represented across 13 sports including bocce. Francis Kenny and Geraldine Marren from Tubbercurry competed at the Special Olympics Connaught Region Bocce Advancement Event at NUI Galway. They train with Cara Bocce Special Olympics Club.

Connaught Regional Director Myra Merrick explained the importance of sport in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities like Francis and Geraldine.

“Special Olympics Ireland is first and foremost a sports organisation for people with an intellectual disability, but it provides athletes with far more than the physical benefits of sport. Every day we see athletes demonstrate courage, experience joy and
share long lasting friendships.”

Athletes from as young as six can train in a chosen sport and ultimately improve their quality of life. Athletes’ families build an invaluable network of friendship and support, but money raised through the annual Collection Day is critical to the future of the programme. This year’s goal is to raise €650,000 on May 5.

“We need 150 people to help in Sligo alone,” said Merrick.

“If that many volunteers can spare a couple of hours to rattle a bucket, we’ll be a long way to meeting our target. Collection Day is the only day in the year where a call is issued for every community to support Special Olympics Ireland at the same time. There will be lots of coffee mornings, bag packs and fun events to get involved in too.”

People looking to volunteer can register their interest at www.specialolympics.ie/collectionday. Anyone who is unable to volunteer is asked to give what they can on the day or make a donation online.

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