“Because our heroes do things that are out of this world!”
Sixth annual campaign aims to raise €250,000 – fundraising exceeded €1,554, 511 over last five years
The sixth annual Woodie’s Heroes campaign is set to be out of this world as the 1,400 colleagues of the DIY, Home and Garden store walk to the moon in a bid to raise vital funds for charity – and they need the help of the homemakers of Ireland to do it!
The campaign kicks off from Sunday 19th July and runs all the way through until Sunday 16th August as Woodie’s colleagues and customers nationwide put their best foot forward for four worthy causes – Down Syndrome Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland, and ISPCC Childline.
With a fundraising target of €250,000, Woodie’s plan to raise the much-needed funds through an array of activities – including their attempt to “walk to the moon” through the combined effort of all 1,400 colleagues and loyal customers upping their step count during the four-week fundraiser to cover the incredible distance of 384,400km!
Whether you walk, run or cycle, it is all about getting active and doing what you can. Customers can log their steps in store or online to contribute to this lunar challenge. Woodie’s have also calculated the average amount of steps it takes a customer to get around the store – it’s that easy for you to add steps to the grand total at the till with a voluntary donation, doing your bit to help get Woodie’s one step closer to moon! To show your support you can donate in store or online here.
You can keep tabs on the progress of your local Woodie’s store as they head for outer space by checking out the in-store barometer which will tot up the distance covered to date.
The last leg of this epic journey will be completed in September, when a team of Woodie’s Heroes will undertake the gruelling task of cycling 1,600 km around the country over five days. They will call into each of the 35 stores nationwide to collect their Woodie’s fundraising cheque, before crossing the lunar finish line in Tallaght.
In the last five years, Woodie’s Heroes have already raised an incredible €1,554,511 for many outstanding Irish charities. This year, Woodie’s Heroes will hopefully reach their goal of €250,000 thanks to the generosity and support of their valued customers. Many charities have been impacted by Covid-19 and so this year, the Woodie’s Heroes campaign is even more important to their chosen charities than ever.
Woodie’s CEO Declan Ronayne said: “The Woodie’s Heroes campaign has become the highlight of our year at Woodie’s so we are delighted to launch the sixth year of the campaign today. We are proud and incredibly grateful for the generosity shown by colleagues and customers alike over the last five years towards our chosen charities, with €1,554,511 raised to date. We look forward to working with our four chosen charities for 2020 – Down Syndrome Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis, Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland and ISPCC. We understand that they, our heroes, do things that are out of this world and we want to show our appreciation by getting active and giving back. The pandemic proved a difficult time for charities with many events cancelled or postponed and here at Woodie’s we are happy to play our part once more in raising much needed funds for these worthy causes.”
See below for the remarkable stories of the four charities and their young ambassadors who will be greatly helped by the Woodie’s Heroes campaign.
Conn’s Story – Down Syndrome Ireland:
Conn Brennan is 17 months old and is from Newbridge, Co. Kildare. Conn is a twin and although tiny, he is mighty. He is adored by his parents, Gary and Marie, his older sisters Doireann and Róise, his younger twin brother Ruairí and his extended family. He makes friends wherever he goes but especially at the Early Development Group, which is run by the Kildare branch of Down Syndrome Ireland.
Conn loves music and is currently working on his speech and Lámh signs. He is also spending a lot of time trying to get on his feet to stand. Children with Down Syndrome have to work much harder at everything – but Conn takes it all in his stride. Down Syndrome Ireland has been a great support and help to Conn since he was born. He has had a number of health complications including feeding as he aspirates food and liquid into his lungs. Despite this, family mealtimes are probably his favourite time of day and what he can eat, he absolutely relishes. The future is very bright for Conn.
Money raised through the Woodie’s Heroes Fundraising Campaign will help Down Syndrome Ireland develop a new feeding programme, which will cost approximately €35,000. Up to 90% of children with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Down Syndrome experience signs of dysphagia including coughing, choking, chest infections, poor weight gain and breathlessness, often from birth or early infancy. The provision of feeding workshops to parents and professionals is essential to ensure the early identification of dysphagia.
Kiera’s Story – Cystic Fibrosis Ireland
When Kiera was born in Portlaoise Hospital in 2012, she was rushed to the special baby care unit where the medical team sent her to Our Lady’s Children Hospital Crumlin. There, Kiera got a heel prick test to determine whether she had Cystic Fibrosis or not. Her mum Louise was worried as she had never heard of Cystic Fibrosis before, going home to research the disease as she awaited the results. After a month, the test results returned positive.
Although devastated at first, Louise learned to manage Kiera’s Cystic Fibrosis quite well with support from Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, bringing her to the hospital every three months to get check-ups and scans, doing Kiera’s required physiotherapy with her, and ensuring she was taking all of her enzymes and medications. Unfortunately, when Kiera was just five years old, she developed pseudomonas, a chronic lung infection and Kiera became very ill, and often had little or no energy.
Then something amazing happened. Two years ago, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland were lobbying the government to make the life-changing Cystic Fibrosis drug, Orkambi, accessible to people with Cystic Fibrosis. It was finally approved, and Kiera was given access to the drug. Within a short space of time, Kiera became a different child. She got her energy back, she was no longer run down due to course after course of antibiotics, and she had a twinkle in her eye again. Cystic Fibrosis Ireland made it possible for Kiera to enjoy her childhood once again.
Cystic Fibrosis Ireland continue to provide Kiera with an Exercise Grant each year so she can keep up her gymnastics which she loves. Exercise is imperative for people with Cystic Fibrosis to keep their lungs clear and improve their quality of life.
With the outbreak of Covid-19 in Ireland, people with Cystic Fibrosis have been cocooning due to their high-risk of contracting the virus. Cystic Fibrosis Ireland are in daily contact with the Cystic Fibrosis community to help them through these challenging times and providing them with information and advice as well as support services including access to online exercise and counselling. Woodie’s Heroes will help them to continue to support people with Cystic Fibrosis at this time when they need it more than ever.
Charlotte and Koda’s story – Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland
At Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland, dogs are specially trained to provide safety and companionship, reduce anxiety and suffering, promote independence, and improve coping mechanisms of children with autism who would otherwise live in a very isolated world.
Charlotte, who is now 13 years old, waited years for the support of an assistance dog. Last year, AADI were delighted to be able to place autism assistance dog Koda with Charlotte and her family. According to Charlotte’s dad John, Koda has changed Charlotte’s life for the better:
“Charlotte was diagnosed ASD at three years old and this came on top of her epilepsy diagnosis (Dravet Syndrome) at seven months. So, she has these couple of things going on which make her life that little bit harder. On the other side, Charlotte is an ordinary girl with a happy outlook on most days and, yes, we have some bad days too. When we received Koda from AADI in March 2019 things changed in a happy way for Charlotte and for me,” he says.
“Koda is so gentle and such a willing dog. Koda is highly trained to keep Charlotte safe when we are out and about but she helps us every day in very many ways… in the traffic, in the shops, in the cinema, going places by car, by bus, by train, hiking in the mountains, walking beaches and very importantly she helps in keeping us calm. And she is a friend!” he adds.
“In addition, I have started to involve Charlotte in Koda’s day to day care with the feeding and the brushing (just a little bit). This has brought Charlotte on hugely in terms of her confidence and empathy to others. Koda is a huge part of our family and we would be lost without her. We are so thankful to everyone at Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland and a big thank you too to all of their supporters for supporting them.”
The funds raised by Woodie’s will enable AADI train more dogs than ever before in 2021. One in 65 children has autism. It takes €22,000 and up to two years to train each autism assistance dog to the standard required. Sadly, demand vastly outstrips supply with at least 10 enquiries a week from desperate parents.
ISPCC Childline is Ireland’s active listening service for children. The service is here for children and young people 24 hours a day, every day. Any child or young person up to the age of 18 in Ireland can contact Childline for free online, by phone, or by text, to chat about any issue which may be on their mind.
Childline receives over 300,000 calls, online chats and texts from children and young people across Ireland each year. The support of Woodie’s Heroes 2020 campaign will help make sure Childline is always here to listen.
Since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in March, Childline has seen a surge in demand for its online service. Funds raised by Woodie’s will help to ensure every child and young person in Ireland can reach Childline in the way they feel most comfortable at any time of the day or night.
Childline is working to strengthen children’s resilience, to help them cope with whatever challenges may come their way. The charity has ambitious plans to reach even more children over the coming years. The support of Woodie’s Heroes 2020 campaign will help make this possible.
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