No Barriers Service User, Rose McNulty from Donegal town, achieves her steps in the Walkathon with Exercise Therapist David Hone
The No Barriers Foundation received remarkable support at every step of a festive fundraiser held in December.
The Donegal-based non-profit, which helps people with disabilities to stay active, made great strides with a Christmas ‘Walkathon’.
More than €6,500 was raised in support of the 6,000 steps
taken during the one-day challenge.
Six service users walked 1,000 steps each using the No Barriers exoskeleton - a robotic suit which enables people with disabilities, including those who are wheelchair users, to stand up and walk.
The fundraiser took place in a virtual form, with supporters following events from the No Barriers Centre in Letterkenny on social media and sponsoring each of the 6,000 steps on GoFundMe.com.
More than 200 people donated in support of the exercisers who conquered the challenge: Ciara Devenney from Annagry, Mary Gallagher from Gaoth Dobhair, Anita Jackson from Burtonport, Rose McNulty from Donegal town, Conor Connolly from Castlederg and Brigid McGinley from Fanad.
The event was also an occasion for No Barriers exercisers to look back on their progress in 2020.
Anita Jackson, aged 43, is one of the members who have been building strength with No Barriers. Each week, Anita takes part in exoskeleton therapy and physiotherapy with the team of in-house physiotherapists and exercise therapists.
Anita suffered a life-changing spinal injury from a fall in 2016, and since moving from London to Donegal, she has trained with No Barriers to develop an exercise regime suited to her needs.
“The support and encouragement I get from the physios is amazing, they do care and they do encourage you. I always feel positive and happy after a session with the physio team at No Barriers,” Anita said.
Rose McNulty attends No Barriers for exercise therapy suited to her Multiple Sclerosis.
"There’s nothing else like it in the North West, and here we have the highest incidence of MS in Ireland. I was delighted they were able to open again after lockdown. I missed my exercise big time.
"The one thing I am sure of in 2021 is I will be going to No Barriers again. The boys are so good and so helpful, you just feel at home and I enjoy the craic too. The new place is super," she said.
The No Barriers Foundation opened a new rehabilitation centre at FitHub Letterkenny in 2020, where service users from all over the north west are invited to avail of neuro-rehab support for stroke, MS, brain injury or spinal cord injury.
Services are now continuing during Covid-19, while all necessary precautions are being taken for staff and clients’ safety.
The organisation is reliant on donations and fundraising to meet the €120,000 annual cost of running the service. With fundraising opportunities dashed in 2020, the Walkathon emerged as a positive boost for the year ahead.
No Barriers Foundation chairman, Johnny Loughrey, thanked everyone that helped get them through this difficult time to date. The committees and staff on the ground have been amazing, he said.
“We are hugely grateful to everyone who has donated to the Walkathon fundraiser so far. Thanks to our ambassador, Nikki Bradley, for her support and thanks to Kelly’s Centra Mountain Top, Letterkenny, for generously sponsoring a hamper for our draw.
“The biggest thanks of all has to go to our amazing No Barriers exercisers who have adapted and continue to work hard at their rehab breaking down barriers every day,” he said.
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