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Running for the future of our kids

THE Down Syndrome Centre was set up when founder Peter Gaw, who has two children with Down syndrome, realised how difficult it was to access the relevant services required to enable his children to reach their full potential.

Its main aim is to create a centre dedicated to people with Down syndrome, offering services such as physiotherapy, seminars, workshops and networking opportunities.

They want premises that will facilitate all issues relating to Down syndrome, that families can consider as a home from home.

This year, a local mums and tots group is doing the Flora Women's Mini Marathon for the Down Syndrome Centre. Triona Cussen's fourth son Joshua has Down syndrome. With her specialist knowledge in Montessori teaching, Triona and some other mums who have children with the condition, set up a weekly mums and tots session a year ago.

"We enjoy the wonderful relationship we have with the Down Syndrome Centre," she explains.

"They have proved to genuinely care about our group and our children. With this in mind we are thrilled to get outside and train for the Flora Women's Mini Marathon and raise much-needed cash for their new centre.


"This is a relationship that will continue to thrive throughout our children's lives, and we are so delighted to be making even a small contribution. The day will be a great experience to join forces and run for our children, their future, our friendships and the Down Syndrome Centre. It doesn't get more rewarding than that."

Colette Maguire, whose daughter Sorcha has Down syndrome, is also in the group. She says: "We have been extremely lucky to have found so many other like-minded parents of toddlers with Down syndrome and are so grateful for the trust and support they give us week after week. The children are all such good friends now and get so excited when they see each other. The sessions end with a very important cup of tea or coffee and a much more important chance for parents to chat, share information or ask questions."

The Flora Women's Mini Marathon provides a major contribution to the charity's funding but this year funds are more important than ever, as Down Syndrome Ireland recently secured a premises to establish the centre and hope to have it open in late summer.

Donations will go towards covering the costs, which range from reference books for the resource centre to special equipment for the therapist services.

Colette will be taking part in the Flora Women's Mini Marathon alongside the other mums. "I have taken part in the Flora Women's Mini Marathon on several occasions for various charities, but this year it's for my very special little girl," she said.

For more information on The Down Syndrome Centre, go to www.downsyndromecentre.ie