By Aine McDonnell
The days are getting longer and the year is flying in! I can’t believe that November is almost upon us again! I always look forward to the start of November because that is when Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) has their only national fundraising drive, the Angels campaign. I have been privileged to be a part of this wonderful organisation since I was a very young child and I see every day the benefits that the work of the IWA brings to each and every member whose lives they touch.
The Angels campaign is in its 14th year this year and every year it keeps getting better. The funds raised during this campaign go towards providing vital services for people with physical and sensory disabilities all around Ireland, services which empower and enrich the lives of the people who use them. This is particularly significant for me in my day to day living.
I live in Belmullet a rural area in the West of Ireland, and it is because of the services of IWA that I have been empowered and encouraged to live a full and independent life and it is because of the services of the IWA that I will very soon be able to move into my own house and live on my own, a scary but incredibly exciting milestone. It truly will be a dream come true which wouldn’t be possible without my personal assistant provided by the Irish Wheelchair Association and the wonderful support of my local Resource and Outreach Centre (ROC).
I have also over the last number of years availed of the respite service run by the Irish Wheelchair Association both in their holiday centre in Cuisle in Roscommon and more recently in The Carmel Fallon Centre in Clontarf in Dublin. These trips away have enabled me to have a life outside of my local area and I have been able to experience new adventures and try things I never dreamed I would be able to do. I go to the theatre, go shopping, and meet up with friends and family. I have also learnt many skills as a result of these trips.
During the month of November starting on November 5th and 6th there will be many fantastic staff members and volunteers who will be on the streets and running events selling our Angels products which will also be in shops and include Angel pins of which there are four new designs this year as well as a car air freshener which is also new. We also have pencils, and activity packs for the kids. All of products cost just €2 and the proceeds will go towards keeping all of our services which are so important to me and many other members of the Association going nationwide.
I will be joining these wonderful people in lending a hand to sell our Angels products because I feel passionate about and proud of our incredible organisation and I look forward to helping in this exciting and worthwhile campaign. So if you see any of our wonderful volunteers out on the streets or you see the Angels products in the shops during the month of November please Be an Angel, Buy an Angel! and help Irish Wheelchair Association to help me to live the life I deserve.