Down Syndrome Ireland is calling on amateur cyclists in Wicklow to saddle up for the inaugural Tour De Leinster cycling challenge.
Ladies footballer Laurie Ahern lent her support to the new charity cycle which was launched today and was joined by six-year-old Sarah Gorman from Co Wicklow to rally support for the event.
The cycle will kick off on Thursday, September 18 and continues over four days until Sunday, September 21.
Cycling legend Sean Kelly will be joining the cyclists for the challenging charity event which takes in a 600km route through some of the most beautiful scenery of of the 12 counties of Leinster.
Starting in Dublin city, the route takes the cyclists south to Wexford across the Wicklow Gap, Bagenalstown to Carlow via the gruelling Mount Leinster then on to Athlone, the Hill of Tara and north to Drogheda, with the cycle finishing up at Howth Hill.
Day one of the event travels through Wicklow covering Dublin, Naas, Hollywood, Laragh, Rathdrum and Wexford.
All cyclists participating in the event must cover their own costs, so all the funds raised through the inaugural event will go directly to the 10 branches of Down Syndrome Ireland in Leinster as well as supporting a number of national projects.
Pat Clarke, CEO of DSI said: “The funds will make all the difference to the lives of people with Down syndrome in Leinster as well as their families by providing vital services and facilities in each county.”
“Our goal in DSI is to assist children born with Down syndrome to be as independent as possible. To achieve this, it is imperative that when they are young they have access to speech therapy and occupational therapy and as they grow we want to help them with other areas of their lives such as independent living and employment opportunities.
“The objective is to ensure that each individual is developed to his/her full potential and to help people with Down syndrome make their own futures as bright and independent as possible. This all requires a lot of funding however, and through the Tour de Leinster cyclists, more young people with Down syndrome will be helped in a practical way.”