- On Friday September 5th almost 250 Intel employees took part in an annual charity cycle event
- The cycle, which took place between the Intel campus in Leixlip and the Sarsfields GAA club in Newbridge, raised more than €23,000 for Irish Autism Action and the Jack and Jill Foundation
- Irish Autism Action and the Jack and Jill Foundation are Intel Ireland’s Signature Charities for 2014 with numerous events taking place throughout the year for the selected organisations
Each year Intel Ireland selects two signature charities in order to give employees the opportunity to dedicate their efforts towards providing volunteer time and funds, raised through specially organised activities, to these chosen organisations.
For 2014, Irish Autism Action and the Jack and Jill Foundation, were selected and employees have been taking part in numerous events during the year to date to raise funds and generate awareness in support of the two selected causes.
A group of cyclists set off from Leixlip
In what has become an annual event, one of the highlights of the charity drive is a cycle challenge which gives employees the opportunity to complete routes of 40km, 80km or 160km. Each of the routes began at the Intel Ireland campus in Leixlip and this year took in various parts of Kildare, depending on the length of the cycle, with each of the routes culminating at the Sarsfields GAA club in Newbridge who kindly opened their doors to welcome the Intel cyclists and crew.
On the morning of Friday September 5th, with the sun shining and just a few clouds above, employees began assembling early at the Leixlip Amenities centre, adjacent to the Intel campus, as they prepared to head off on their bikes for the challenging journey ahead.
Kitted out in distinctive blue Intel jerseys the groups of cyclists were a notable sight as they passed through numerous towns and villages, including Maynooth, Prosperous and Kilmeague.
By lunch time all of the cyclists from the various distances had arrived at Sarsfields GAA where they enjoyed a much deserved pit stop which was kindly hosted in the clubhouse facilities. At the Newbridge venue the cyclists were greeted by Jonathan Irwin, CEO of the Jack and Jill Foundation, Niall Murphy from Irish Autism Action and special guest Darragh Maloney of RTÉ who offered some words of encouragement to the group. After the short stop the cyclists were ready to head off on their bikes for the final 40km of their challenge which took them on a return journey back to the Intel campus.
Happy cyclists begin arriving in Newbridge
In total, almost 250 Intel employees took part in the Charity Cycle event with more than 30 additional volunteers taking to the road in a number support roles.
This was the fifth year that Intel employees completed the cycle challenge and again there was a fantastic response to the fundraising effort with more than €23,000 being raised overall for the signature charities.
This will be combined with monies raised through other events with the total overall fundraising amount being revealed at the end of the year.
Intel Ireland employee Michelle Molloy completed a 40km cycle on Friday and this marked her 1st year of participation in the charity event, “It was a great event and a great way to get employees together in support of our signature charities. There was a fantastic atmosphere and comradery amongst all of us out on the road – I was delighted to be able to support two very worthy organisations and proud of the support that Intel gave us all in doing so”.
Jack and Jill CEO Jonathan Irwin addresses the cyclists
Further images from the event can be found here: Intel Ireland Charity Cycle 2014 – an album on Flickr
About the Signature Charities:
Irish Autism Action
Irish Autism Action is a young dynamic, innovative and passionate organisation formed in 2001 which is bringing positive change into the lives of those affected by autism. The range of services which Irish Autism Action provides includes awareness raising, early detection diagnosis, education support, advocacy, counselling, helpline, home based support, transition planning, social housing, research information and advice for families upon receiving diagnosis.
Irish Autism Action is an umbrella organisation with over 40 member groups and also individual members. Our members range from the 13 Special Schools for Children with Autism to local support groups and are located in practically every county in Ireland. We have set up Ireland’s first National Diagnostic and Assessment Centre known as Solas which is based in Dublin. In April 2009 we launched our National Autism Helpline which is operated by parents. It is Ireland’s first autism helpline which provides impartial and confidential information, advice and support for people with an autistic spectrum disorder, their families and professionals.
The Jack and Jill Foundation
The Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation was established by Johnathan Irwin and his wife Mary Ann, as a result of their experiences following the birth of their son Jack in 1997. Due to complications shortly after birth, Jack developed severe brain-damage, which left him without sight or hearing, and unable to swallow. Shockingly, Irwin was advised by medical practitioners to abandon him in hospital. After ignoring that advice, they found themselves effectively abandoned instead, with no support-system in place to help them care for Jack at home.
The family suffered unimaginable trauma, and encountered a series of bureaucratic obstacles, before an offer of help from a retired nurse provided an inspirational catalyst which sustained them through the remaining months of their son’s short life. Other nurses became involved with Jack’s care, and out of the seeds of family anguish, fresh hopes grew for others.
According to Irwin, he was profoundly shocked and angered to discover that there was no respite-aid available to parents in our circumstances until the baby reached the age of four. “We wanted to ensure that other families would not have to go through the same sort of ordeal, and we set up the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation to help provide a comprehensive range of support services for babies and their families.”
The organisation campaigns energetically to improve services for young children with disabilities, but Irwin admits that progress towards reform of the system has been slow. The triumph of Jack and Jill has been in the practical arena, providing an invaluable network of support for individual families under its wing.
Since 1997, the Foundation has supported 1600 families throughout Ireland. It has raised €36 million from the Private Sector while receiving €4.5 million from the Irish Health Service. Awards received include Charity of the Year 2003, Irish Personality of the Year 2004, Irish Fundraiser of 2011 and Global Fundraiser of 2011.
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