Now in its 13th year of pounding the trails, the annual 5km Menlo Walk in aid of Ability West will take place next month to help people with autism.
Organised by the Kelly family, whose youngest child Andrew has autism, the Menlo Walk has so far raised €65,000 for Ability West.
Ability West is a voluntary, not for profit organisation, set up by parents and friends, that provides services and supports to over 580 children and adults with an intellectual disability and autism in Galway.
Andrew attends their day service and also a respite service, both located in Galway City. These support services are vital to him and to the family.
All of the funds raised through this annual walk will go towards supporting their ongoing capital programme which includes new builds, as well as extensions and refurbishments of existing buildings.
The programme is also used for the purchase of essential aids, appliances, specialised equipment and minibuses.
“The walk is a huge part of our year but also it’s all about community,” said Brega Kelly, Andrew’s mum and co-organiser of the Menlo Walk.
“The Menlo community, our family and friends and friends of friends who come each year and support us and Ability West. We are so delighted to have raised close to €65,000.”
The next walk will take place on Sunday, February 9, starting from Scoil Bhríde, Menlo in the city, with lots of cakes and bakes afterwards.
“So even if walking isn’t your thing, you can reward yourself with a slice of cake for your effort if nothing else,” said Brega.
Through more than 60 centres in Galway City and County, Ability West day, residential, and respite care, as well as rehabilitative training, supports towards employment, active ageing, and multiple community supports.
These include speech and language therapy, psychology, behaviour support, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and social work.
Ability West is also patron of four special schools located in Ballinasloe, Carraroe, Galway City and Tuam.
It is only through the continued support and generosity of the public that they can continue to deliver high quality services well into the future.
A walking fee of €10 per person or €25 per family is payable on the day. For more information phone Ray on 087-7694153 or Brega on 087-6179886. Donations can also be made online through www.abilitywest.ie.