Dorothy Kavanagh celebrates 40th anniversary of Special Olympics in Ireland

Dorothy Kavanagh has been involved with the Special Olympics for the last 40 years, since it began in Ireland.

July 2018 marks the 40th Anniversary of Special Olympics Ireland and it is also the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics International which was established in 1968 when the first competition was held in Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Dorothy first got involved as a supporter in Special Olympics through the Daughters of Charity, St. Vincent’s, Lisnagry where she was training as a nurse, then she became a volunteer and eventually a coach.

“Our Special Olympics athletes develop so many skills through their chosen sport. However it is also true that coaches, volunteers, officials, family and friends have learned as much and more through Special Olympics. I am one of those privileged people,” said Dorothy.

Dorothy Kavanagh

By supporting and helping her at the games Dorothy said her family have always been involved in Special Olympics, and have become better people because of their involvement.

“I have learned humility, to be respectful, to be patient, how to have the craic and the potential that is within all of us. I have learned all this not through the sports Special Olympics offers or through the other coaches or volunteers, but through a very unique group, the Special Olympics Athletes.

“Through Special Olympics my four girls have developed a very positive attitude to people with an intellectual disability and realise the potential and skill within our athletes. They know a lot of our athletes in Lisnagry and have a very good relationship with them,” added Dorothy.

The Lisnagry Special Olympics team who took part in the Ireland Games of 2018.
Back row: Regina O’Reilly, Caroline O’Donnell, James Murphy, Matthew McInerny, Brian Ridgway, Caroline Torpey, Josie McMahon, Susan Torpey.
Middle: Dorothy Kavanagh, Christy Moore, Seamus Doyle, Kieran Wagstaffe, Laura Brennan, Roisin Flanagan, Phil O’Regan.
Front row: Nathan Hayes, Brian Clohessy, Alan Quinlan, Eoin Hanley, Aileen Hickey , John Jordan and Susan Kenny.

Dorothy also has a nephew who is a Special Olympics athlete and has seen him blossom, grow in confidence, experience travel and staying away from home, public speaking, being part of a team but also being his own person through Special Olympics and he has a large circle of friends.

“Special Olympics has been a great support for families and athletes, an outlet to develop all the skills needed for specific sports, but also a place to make friends and have regular social interaction.

“Athletes learn how to enjoy a win and be graceful and respectful in defeat. Special Olympics teaches new skills but also challenges both athletes and families to strive for more,” said Dorothy.

Castletroy and District Lions Club hold Table Quiz in Aid of Cliona’s Foundation

Castletroy and District Lions Club are holding a table quiz in aid of Cliona’s Foundation at the Castletroy Park Hotel at 8.30pm on Friday April 21.

Cliona’s Foundation is a Limerick based charity, established in 2007 by Brendan and Terry Ring, that provides financial assistance directly to parents of children with life limiting or chronic complex care needs throughout Ireland, to help with the non medical expenses related to caring for their child.

Following the death of their daughter Cliona, from an inoperable brain tumour, Brendan and Terry set up Cliona’s Foundation, in honour of their daughter. Since its launch, the charity has raised in excess of €1.25 million euro over the past 10 years and provided assistance to over 400 families in 29 Counties.

“We were delighted to get the call that the Castletroy Lions Club had selected Cliona’s Foundation as beneficiary of their Annual quiz.

“Cliona’s Foundation relies solely on fundraising events and private and corporate donations, so this event and the monies generated from it are very important to us, to enable us continue support families who need it,” said spokesperson for Cliona’s Foundation Phil Deegan.

Phil said events like this are important for the foundation, not only for benefitting from the money received but also for the opportunity to raise awareness for the work the foundation does, such as being the only charity in the country to provide this type of support across a broad range of conditions, from birth up to the age of 16 years

The money raised from this event will go directly towards providing assistance to a family of a child with a life limiting illness, to help alleviate the pressure and stress associated with the non medical costs, such as car parking charges, accommodation, travel expenses, childcare costs or specialised equipment.

“This week we were able to send out cheques to 8 families. For one of these families both children have a life limiting illness and are travelling abroad for treatment with one of them. Both parents have taken leave from work and will be incurring significant costs at home and abroad.

“Each year is a challenge in terms of fundraising, and while we are delighted our profile has increased significantly over the past 2 years, that has also meant an increase in the number of applications we are receiving on a weekly basis. Ideally we want to be in a position that we do not have to refuse any family that meet the criteria our support.

“It is the many thank you letters we receive back from families that reinforce for us the need that’s out there, the impact that our support has and the drive for us to continue on our journey,” said Phil.

The Castletroy and District Lions Club is a volunteer organisation that organises fundraising events with every penny raised going directly to good causes in local communities  All members of Lion Clubs International are committed to serving local communities.

Tables of 4 are €40 and there will also be a raffle.