Kilmallock AC chairman PJ Carey with 10-year-old Stephen, his mum Tanya and Sarah Weekes and Faith the companion dog
A SPORTY youngster from Kilmallock is to take part in a five-kilometre run this weekend to raise money for a very worthy cause.
Stephen Weekes, 10, who is a member of Kilmallock Athletics Club, is to travel to Celbridge in Kildare for the Jog4aDog 5K, a run which benefits My Canine Companion, a charity which provides for the training of companion dogs for autistic children.
His elder sister Sarah, 12, has a companion dog named Beth, who is currently undergoing her final training with the charity.
Sarah herself is also active in sports and recently won a medal in the Limerick round of the Community Games handball competition.
Their mother Tanya explained the importance of the work the charity does.
"Even though Sarah is high functioning, there are social interactions and other occasions such as a visit to the doctor that can be very stressful for her. Having Beth by her side helps her cope with these situations."
My Canine Companion receives no state funding, she added.
Tanya went on to thank local businesses, voluntary groups and individuals who have fundraised for the charity in the past, including Abbey Pharmacy, Ryan's Supervalu and notably Kilmallock and Limerick goalkeeper Barry Hennessy, who ran last year’s Dublin City Marathon for the cause.
PJ Carey, who chairs Kilmallock Athletics Club and is training Steven for the run, spoke of the importance of athletic facilities for children.
“It is said that children nowadays prefer to be stuck inside on their phones or Playstations. It is my experience that they would prefer to be outside. They need facilities that are safe to play, and it's up to us to provide these facilities. The benefits are many, physical and mental health, confidence and integration."
To support Steven, visit www.idonate.ie/StephenWeekes. to find out more.
Alternatively, telephone 087 6107198 to make a contribution.