Dundalk man John Morgan has been a wheelchair user since 2012 but even since then he has been determined to try and walk as much as possible using a walker. Now, the Suil na Mara man has launched a fundraiser which will see him try and take 1100 steps every day in a bid to raise money for the Irish Wheelchair Service Sports and Activity Service.
According to John he has seen at first hand the great work locally that the group do to help people in wheelchairs, and he wanted to give a little bit back by raising money to buy specialised sports equipment.
“I have been in a wheelchair for almost a decade now and although I know I will never be able to walk independently I decided last January to try walking a little bit with the aid of my walker. With the help of my friend Patricia Brannigan who works with the IWA I have been building up my fitness and from being able to walk 220 baby steps back in January I am now doing 1100. Patricia or another carer from the IWA come out to me at 8am every morning and watch on as I do my steps. I am considered a falls risk, so I am unable to do the steps without somebody being there with me.
“I initially started doing the steps when I was staying out in my father’s house during the pandemic last January and I would walk a few steps with the walker down to the shed at the bottom of the garden. Gradually I have been going further and further and now I am able to do 1100 steps which takes me just over an hour. It takes a lot out of me, but I really enjoy doing it,” explained John.
“I play bochia every Saturday morning with fellow wheelchair users and our sports coordinator is a lady called Katie Byrne who also teaches wheelchair basketball for children as well as a senior basketball team. I have seen at first hand the great work she does, and I wanted to help out by trying to raise money to go towards specialised equipment like maybe special wheelchairs for children’s basketball or equipment for our bochia groups.
“With that in mind I plan on walking every morning between now and December 31st and hopefully I can maybe get up to 1500 steps a day by then which would be a good achievement considering I started on just over 200 last January,” noted John.
“I cannot say enough good things about the IWA. They have been invaluable to me especially during the pandemic when they sent outreach workers around to the house regularly to make sure I was ok. They hold weekly quizzes and a facility to work on your upper body strength in their offices which I enjoy, and they have a van which can take up to six wheelchair users out somewhere for the day like maybe the beach for example during the summer.
“They also have a respite facility out in Ashbrook called Shrattan House which I attended, and I simply couldn’t do without them. They are great people who work there, and I consider them friends at this stage. I will keep walking everyday and hopefully by the end of the year I will have raised a few euro to give to the IWA’s sports and activity service,” added John.
If you would like to support John’s fundraiser you can donate on his gofundmepage by searching for ‘John’s 1,100 baby step journey’. John is also hoping to get a sponsor to cover the cost of t-shirts with ‘John’s 1100 baby step challenge written on them. You can contact John on 0876332748.