Dublin dad of four, Stephen Cullen, and six of his friends will undertake a major kayak challenge to raise funds for AsIAm, Ireland’s national autism charity and advocacy organisation.
Stephen who hails from Rathfarnham, currently lives in Knocklyon with wife Orla, and their four children, Ella Marie (16), Tommy (6), Lenny (3) and Daisy (10 months).
“Lenny was diagnosed with pre-verbal autism when he was two years,” said Orla. “He is a really happy little chappie, loves his siblings and family and for us, he is the heartbeat of the family.”
Stephen added: “We have first-hand experience of the great work that AsIAm carry out and would like to support their work as far as possible. Hence, six of my close friends and I will attempt to kayak the full length of the Grand Canal, and have launched a GoFundMe page to raise funding for the supports AsIAm provide.
“We will be negotiating 41 locks over the 131km stretch over the Grand Canal, kayaking 7 hours per day over four days.”
AsIAm work with children and adults to reach their personal potential and to fully participate in society.
“They focus on autism inclusion with individuals, in schools and in the workplace. Unfortunately, some of those diagnosed with autism in Ireland do not get the care and support they need at the time they really need it.
“The Covid-19 pandemic brought additional challenges for those with autism, particularly young people whose supports were interrupted. AsIAm steps up in every way they can to fill in the gaps and continues to lead the way for those who need them in Dublin,” said Stephen who has been kayaking over the past seven years. He paddles regularly along the Royal Canal with daughter Ella Marie, especially during the summer months.
The challenge will be held over the May Bank holiday weekend. Any donation, however big or small, will be appreciated.
“We hope to raise €10,000 from our endeavour,” said Stephen. “We believe in the cause and encourage people to find out more about the work AsIAm do, and how people can support them in the future at https://asiam.ie/.
Get on Board: Stephen and his fellow kayakers are also offering corporate sponsorship via ‘Get On Board with us!’ For €500, your company logo will be printed and displayed on the boats for the full trip as well as on all social media platforms.
Go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/131-grand-canal-challenge-for-asiam to donate