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Determined Orla raises thousands for Irish Wheelchair Association

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TURNING 21 is a rite of passage for every young person, with most of them choosing to celebrate by throwing a big party.

Orla Platten from Quin can’t throw a 21st birthday party due to the current Covid-19 restrictions. But instead of getting down about it, she has turned it into a way to raise thousands of Euro for the Irish Wheelchair Association.

Orla was born with Down Syndrome. She uses a wheelchair to get around as she has spinal scoliosis. She also has congenital heart problems.

Cycling is a real challenge for Orla because she has no hip joint on her right side, so she has to be lifted on and off the trike. In spite of all of this, plus the fact that she only learned to cycle two weeks ago, determined Orla has pledged to cycle one kilometre a day until May 22.

“I’m going to be 21 years old on 22nd May and I want to raise money for IWA in Co Clare. They have lost a lot of fundraising money because of Covid 19  and they have been very kind to me, checking in about 3 times a week and sending me word searches, crosswords and colouring pages,” Orla said.

Orla set an initial fundraising target of €1,000. She reached that goal in just six hours and has just surpassed her second target of €5,000.

She is overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity and says she will keep fundraising until she reaches 21km on her 21st birthday. Find Orla’s IWA birthday fundraiser here

Elaine has been a member of staff with The Clare Echo since its foundation in October 2017. The paper's first Chief Reporter, the Kilrush woman is now working as a sub-editor in our busy newsroom. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Limerick with a Masters in Journalism. Elaine briefly worked with the RTE Investigations Unit on the Standards in Public Office investigation before returning to Clare to continue her career as a reporter with the Clare People where she spent nine months as the West Clare correspondent and also covered the 2016 General Election and 2016 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

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