herald

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Total strangers walk and run together for the greater good ...

Claire Maher and her son Oren
Claire Maher and her son Oren

The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) is the national sight loss agency. It's a not-for-profit charitable organisation which provides support and services nationwide to people experiencing sight loss. It provides a service to over 7,000 people yearly.

Claire Maher's young son, Oren, who attends a NCBI centre in Dublin, is one of those people.

She explains: "My son Oren is registered blind and attends NCBI's Early Learning Centre in Clondalkin. My grandfather also had sight loss.

"I did charity work for NCBI when I was a teenager without the foresight of knowing that one day my own son would be blind.

"The Early Learning Centre is a pre-school for children who are blind or vision impaired and it's been a fantastic resource for my family. Oren has come on so much since attending NCBI and we have had lots of support."

Claire has taken part in the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon on behalf of the charity for a number of years. "This will be my fourth time running the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon on behalf of NCBI," she says, "and I am planning to continue to do so for many years to come.

"The biggest memory I have is from the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon in 2012. I had trained for a few months as a walker.

tears

"It was my first marathon and just to finish I felt would be an accomplishment. This day, I got delayed on the Luas and when I turned up for the NCBI team photo, I had missed it by 10 minutes. I cried in St Stephen's Green, thinking I had let Oren.

"But wiping away my tears, I got up, walked to the start line and ran the whole race. I knew it was all worth it when I saw Oren waiting for me at the finish.

"I think what I enjoy most about the event is just arriving on the day and seeing everyone wearing their T-shirts for their respective charities. We're all strangers, but for two hours, we're all one working together for a good cause.

"This year, I will be doing the mini marathon alone. But with 40,000 others by my side, I won't get lonely."

For more information on the NCBI go to www.ncbi.ie

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