Orla Platten from Co. Clare writes about her exciting fundraising adventures this year on her three-wheel trike
My name is Orla Platten and I live in Quin, Co Clare. Before the Covid pandemic, I used to go to the IWA group on a Friday evening. I loved meeting everyone. We sometimes went bowling. The group is great and I really enjoyed it and the Irish Wheelchair Association staff and volunteers in Co Clare are brilliant.
Then everything stopped and I had to stay at home. I was really sad, I missed everyone. My Mam bought me a trike and she got in touch with a man called Leroy from Cycle Ireland and he gave her a waist strap and foot pedals to help keep my feet in place. My Dad’s friend Flan put them onto the trike for me. Pat Ryan, our neighbour, arranged for a man to look at me on the trike and me made adjustments to the pedals to make it more comfortable for me.
“I practiced every day and I saw some people were doing different things to raise money for charities, so I decided that I would try and raise funds for IWA”
At first I was very nervous on the trike. I couldn’t get on it by myself, so my Dad lifted me on and off each day and he strapped my feet in. I found it hard to pedal and my hips and my legs were a bit sore.
I practised every day and then I saw some people were doing different things to raise money for charities, so I decided that I would try and cycle one kilometre everyday from the 1st of May until 21st May. I wanted to try and cycle 21kms by my 21st birthday on 22nd May to raise money for the Irish Wheelchair Association. My target was to raise €1,000.
I cycled from my house to the cross and back every day and my Dad or my Mam came with me and that was a distance of 1km. My neighbours Pat and Claire Ryan came out every day to cheer me on. Each day I got stronger and stronger and I got a bit faster too. I used Strava to record my rides and I posted my progress on my Facebook page every day.
“Every day people were donating money to my fundraiser and every day I was getting more confident on my trike”
All of my friends and my Mam’s friends wrote lovely comments and words of encouragement for every post. My Mam set up a Go Fund Me page and after the first 6 hours I got over €1,000, then after 2 days, I reached €5,000. I was so thrilled. Every day people were donating money to my fundraiser and every day I was getting more confident on my trike.
My Auntie Gay contacted TV3 and Eric came down and interviewed me and my Mam and Dad about the fundraiser. They posted the interview on their Facebook page and then I got more and more donations and lovely comments too. My friend Katie came with me one day and cycled up the road. My great friend Bernie and Senan called another day and they came up the road with me too.
My last cycle was on 21st May and Mam and Dad walked with me as far as the cross. When I got up to Ryan’s house there was a Garda Car and I was shocked. They put on their sirens and drove in front of me all the way back to my house. When I got to the top of the hill I saw balloons and banners and people were waving flags.
Everyone stayed two meters apart and they all lined the road and clapped all the way until I crossed the finish line. The Mayor of Clare and the Mayor of Ennis both attended too. I was so excited and shocked and delighted. In total, I raised €13,200 for Irish Wheelchair Association. I think they are a great organisation and I am looking forward to seeing them all again in 2021.