8 year old Blackrock girl takes on 21km challenge for her sister

by Rebecca Ryan
Lydia (8) said she takes on Challenge 21 because she wants to promote the message that her sister Sophie (7) is “just like everyone else”

An eight-year-old girl from Blackrock is taking part in a 21km coastal walk from Booterstown to Howth this September for her sister.

Lydia Corley is taking on the Challenge 21 for the second time. Last year she took part to support her sister Sophie who has down syndrome.

The walk, jog or run is in aid of The Down Syndrome Centre and aims to raise over €75,000 to help children with down syndrome.

Lydia on the Challenge 21 in 2017

Lydia did the walk last year with her mother Sinead and some friends. She said she did not need much training for last year’s event: “I do gymnastics, hockey, dancing and singing and Gaelic and I cycle and go out on my bike a bit, but I didn’t really train – I just did it. The next day my Mum told me to sit on the couch but weirdly I was full of energy.”

Lydia said she takes on Challenge 21 because she wants to promote the message that her sister Sophie (7) is “just like everyone else”.

The inspirational Blackrock girl said she felt amazing when she crossed the finish line last year: “[I felt] brilliant! And then that night we went down to my cousins and they were all saying, ‘Oh My God’.’’

When asked if her sister Sophie would like to do Challenge 21 with her this year Lydia replied: “She does NOT like walking! She wouldn’t walk 1 km but I’m going to do it.

“I have my baby cousin’s christening the day before on the Saturday and then Challenge 21 on the Sunday!”

Lydia often accompanies her sister Sophie to speech therapy and occupational therapy sessions at The Down Syndrome Centre and has made some great friends there.

The Down Syndrome Centre is based in Cabinteely. It provides a wide range of early intervention services to children with down syndrome and lots of supports and services to families.

Sharon Dagg CEO of The Down Syndrome Centre said Challenge 21 promises to be a great day for all.

“This is our second year running the event. We had a fantastic day last year, many of the participants’ children, spouses and partners Lydia Corley with her sister Sophie joined them to walk the last kilometre to the finish line in Howth, it was very special.

“This year the event promises to be an amazing day out with music, refreshments, lots of surprises along the way, and a super after party in Howth,” said Ms Dagg.

Lydia is all set for year two of Challenge 21 and is asking the public to join her for the 21km coastal walk, jog or run from Booterstown to Howth on Sunday September 16 at 10 am from Booterstown Dart Station.

There will also be a postwalk party and food. For more information about the event please contact The Down Syndrome Centre at [email protected] downsyndromecentre.ie or on (01) 661 8000.

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