Kayla and Laura Flanaghan
A Donegal third level student is hoping to run 5k every day to raise money to help support Down Syndrome Ireland and their work.
Ballybofey’s Lauren Flanaghan is planning to run every day from March 1 to March 21, which marks World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). Her little sister, Kayla has Down syndrome.
World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day that has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The day for WDSD is on the 21st day of the third month. People with Down Syndrome are born with a 3rd chromosome 21 (an extra copy).
Down Syndrome Ireland’s annual Purple Run in the Phoenix Park is a celebration of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st.
Lauren, who is also contesting the Miss Donegal (Miss Ireland) competition this year, said: “Sadly, this year’s Purple Run cannot take place as planned due to the pandemic and ongoing restrictions but people are running or walking their own Virtual Purple Run (5km or more) anytime during the 21 day run up to this year’s World Down Syndrome Day and raise money to help support their work with children and adults with Down syndrome throughout Ireland."
“This year like many others, I have decided to complete this virtually,” she added.
Lauren, a final year Speech and Language Therapy student in Ulster University, Belfast, added: “I am doing my own form of the Purple Run, calling it “5k a Day for DSI”. I will be doing 5km a day for 21 days from March 1 until World Down Syndrome Day. I will be posting updates of my progress throughout the month along with some facts about the organisation and Down Syndrome itself.”
Down Syndrome Ireland provides a range of services and opportunities to its members throughout Ireland, such as Parent links, mother and child groups, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, employment opportunities and many more.
She continued: “There are 25 branches throughout Ireland, my family and I are members of our local branch Down Syndrome Donegal and have been since 2012.
“Each year my family and I like to support DSI whether it's via crazy sock day or the HB ice cream events.
“This charity is very close to our hearts and has provided so much for my little sister Kayla. She is eight-years-old and she basically runs our household. She has such a great personality and I want to break any stigmas people may have against the syndrome while also raising money for the much needed services.
“So many of the organisations’ annual fundraising events have been cancelled this year due to Covid-19 so they need our support now more than ever.
“I am currently running for Miss Donegal (Miss Ireland) this year so hoping my social media following will result in more awareness and money raised!
“On the final day I am hoping my family, Kayla, and as many family and friends as I can safely gather will walk the final 5 km together so I am searching to spread the word and gather as much awareness as possible within the next month," she said.
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