BY MARTIN WALSH
A SIX-year-old from from Summercove, Kinsale is becoming an inspiration throughout all of Cork as he pedals his way to 100km in 33 days, raising tens of thousands of euro on the way.
Harry O’Hanlon, who suffers from autism, is accompanied on each leg of his journey by his mum Martina, dad Ricky and his four-year-old sister Chloe.
Diagnosed three years ago Harry, just like his cycle, faced up to the challenge, and having attended the Rainbow Club Centre for Autism and also participated in early intervention across Shine (Centre for Autism) and Sonas (Special Junior School) in Carrigaline, has made remarkable progress.
Now he is showing his appreciation for the three organisations and, as he prepares to attend primary school in Kinsale next month, he has already raised over €20,000 and he’s not finished yet.
Harry’s cycling journey began in his home town on July 7th and it will also end in Kinsale – on Saturday August 8th. The initial target of €3,000 was surpassed before Harry even hit the pedals. Recently it reached just over €20,000. Last Saturday in Clonakilty, Harry’s dad, Ricky said: ‘We are constantly adjusting the target, we have now set it at €25,000. It’s fantastic and it has also raised awareness.’
For Harry, it has helped his co-ordinating skills and how he copes with the elements such as traffic, noise and weather. In addition, it has brought continuity – by having to get up on his bike 33 days in succession.
‘It keeps him motivated,’ said Ricky, but it’s not all plain sailing.
‘There are times he gets upset, it could be the weather or just his form on the day, he is quite routine-driven, so we plan with him as much as possible.’ At the finish line in Clonakilty, Ricky remarked: ‘We are staggered by the turnout, it is far beyond what we expected. We are extremely humbled and privileged by the response here and the support within Clonakilty.’
Donations to www.gofundme.com by searching ‘help for harry’s heores’