In their desire to stay on the road, members of the Irish Wheelchair Association will take to the sky in a bid to raise funds to buy an urgently required new bus.
The buses used by the IWA at their Tipperary town centre are in poor condition, one is on loan and one is constantly breaking down, and funds are desperately needed to purchase a new bus.
Wheelchair users Jude Spellman, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis eighteen years ago, and Michelle O'Neill, who was born with cerebral palsy, are prepared to do their bit and will do a parachute jump in County Offaly on August 18th to raise funds.
Like all the service users the bus is a lifeline for Jude and Michelle, not only to collect and drop them from centres in Tipperary town, Carrick on Suir and Cashel, but to bring users on days out, trips, holidays and social events.
Jude and Michelle are prepared to do their bit for the cause by doing a parachute jump next month.
They are both from Golden and will become the first people from the IWA in Tipperary to do a parachute jump.
There will be a benefit night in the Bridge Bar, Golden on Saturday, July 7th at 9pm. It will be attended by former Tipp hurling legend Eoin Kelly and Noel McGrath and it is hoped that there will be a jersey of Tadgh Furlong on auction on the night as one of the stars of the recent rugby Test series against Australia is a cousin of Michelle’s.
“We need a new bus, without the bus we could not be able to get to the centre, we would not be able to go out shopping, or to concerts, trips or on holidays. It is important we raise money for a new bus as so many depend on it” said Jude.
“I do have fears about the jump, they say looking out the door of the plane can be scary. There must be easier ways to raise money, but I want to do this,” said Jude.
Michelle said she was Tipperary’s biggest hurling supporter and goes to every match and even attends training sessions in Semple Stadium.
“I have gone to every Tipp match since 1987.If we don’t have a bus, I won’t be at the matches. It's as simple as that. We have to do everything we can to get a new bus” insisted Michelle.
“I have asked to go first out of the plane because I will be nervous.I am just going to close my eyes and go.If it gets a bus on the road for me to stay going to Croke Park then it has to be done” said Michelle.
The parachute jump is being organised by Clanwilliam Rugby Club and was launched recently at the club by Tommy O Donnell and referee John Lacey.
Up to sixty people are doing the jump including three services users Jude, Michelle and Mary Harney from Galbally.