By Kim O’Leary
A group of Dublin friends are set to do a skydive next weekend to raise money for two charities that help and support children with autism.
Ava Fennessy and her friends Jess Bressan and Lesley Nolan have set up GoFundMe pages and are aiming to do the sky dive on June 26 to raise money for The Little Seeds Social club and AsIAm.
The Little Seeds Social club was set up in 2013 and is run on a voluntary basis by parents in Dublin 15. Rosaleen and Geraldine started the club and they both have boys with autism.
AsIAm is Ireland’s national autism charity who work tirelessly to ensure people with Autism are empowered to reach their own potential.
So far Ava and her friends have raised over €2, 211 through their GoFundMe pages.
“My housemates’ nephews are part of The Little Seeds Social club created for children with Autism. Set up in 2013 and run on a voluntary basis by parents in Dublin 15. I want to get involved in raising money for these two groups. I know they do incredible work for all the children involved and it is vital to ensure these groups are kept going in the communities,” said Ava.
Over the weekend Ava and her friends had a bake sale as part of their fundraising efforts.
“The bake sale went fantastic we were very pleased with how much we raised which was €600 for three hours and everything was sold out. All the neighbours were very happy to see some baked goods and we had a great time,” she said.
According to Ava, this will be her first ever skydiving experience.
“This is my first time doing a skydive well I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous but it is something I have wanted to tick off my bucket list for years so what a great way to do it whilst raising money for a great charity. I just keep telling myself everything will be fine and I don’t need to do much but dangle my legs over a plane,” she said.
Organising the skydive is mum-of-three and passionate advocate for the autism community Ciara Jones from Clonee in Dublin.
Ciara’s son Gavin, 11, has autism and his devoted mum is a strong advocate for AsIAm as well as a founder of the Sparkle for Autism Ball and a co-founder of the 5k Run4Autism in Corkagh Park.
In the past year she also launched Ciara’s Autism Support Hub in Dublin 15, which has seen huge success in providing advice and support to parents of children with autism.
She told the Gazette: “Last year I opened Ciara’s Autism Support Hub and we help parents whose children have autism by giving them support and information. We help them in their journey and let them know we are on the journey with them.”
The annual skydive has also proven popular with parents and friends taking part to help raise funds and awareness about autism.
“A lot of people who do the parachute jump do it for the recognition for their children and others do it to tick it off their bucket list. There’s always 20 or 30 jumpers each year, they get back as much out of it as we do,” said Ciara.
To support Ava, Jess and Lesley in their skydiving adventure visit Fundraiser by Ava Fennessy : Fundraiser for Autistic Children’s Club (gofundme.com)