herald

Saturday 27 May 2017

I'm trying to round up as many people as I can for my 5km in aid of autism

I HAD a quiet start to the week because I just returned from a lads' adventure weekend with my son Jay so I spent most of Monday evening and Tuesday sleeping it off.

Every year we make sure we go somewhere, Jay brings four or five of his friends and a few of my buddies come along.

Last year we went to Kerry, but this year we went to Westport and The Adventure Islands in Mayo, which is a haven for boys who never really grew up.

You can do any activity under the sun like kayaking and zip-lining, so it was a lovely way to spend time with him.

Jay is 17 and at 6ft 3in, he towers over everyone so he is the man of the house now. Lisa, his mother and my lovely wife, is tiny compared to him, but she is still in charge.

I was like a kid on Christmas morning on Thursday when I was given the chance to play at the Pro-Am tournament at this year's Irish Open with some of the greatest golfers out there.

I am a regular player so it was like a dream come true for me to be invited to play at Carton House where the tournament is taking place.

I had great fun with Shane Lowry, who is a good pal, and Darren Clarke. There are so many Irish golfers in contention this year so it would be great to see one of them do it. I played well and I scored my best round on the course.

On Tuesday, myself and Lisa attended a barbecue at the hotel ahead of the Open and we had good fun with Padraig Harrington and his wife Caroline.

There was plenty going on this week with the Keith Duffy 5km taking place on Sunday in aid of Irish Autism Action.

It will be the biggest single gathering for autism that's ever happened in Ireland. It is a cause that is really close to my heart because my daughter, Mia, has autism, but she is doing extremely well, considering where we started.

She has come so far from the girl who didn't speak until the age of seven.

She did really well in her summer exams and got six As so I was very proud. She is very intelligent and attends a mainstream school.

We will have 1,000 people coming to run or walk the 5km course in the Phoenix Park this Sunday.

I am really looking forward to it because we are not Government-funded so we have to do charity events to make sure that we keep the facilities in place.

For years, we have been doing golf classics where we get loads of celebrities to come over and raise money for autism – or masquerade balls.

 

SPREAD

But this time we wanted to do something for ordinary people who are affected by autism and who can't afford to go to the likes of the Ritz Carlton.

I wanted to give people an opportunity to feel that they are helping themselves and to spread the word.

It is called a run, but I don't care if women turn up with their babies in a pram and if grandparents want to take part, its all about holding out a hand to people and doing our best to improve the prospects of those with autism.

My family and extended family will be taking part on Sunday and I am going to do my best to get around to as many people as I can.

The Keith Duffy 5km Run takes place in the Phoenix Park on Sunday at 11am

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