A Ballygally man whose sister suffers from a rare chromosomal disorder is launching one of the UK’s toughest triathlons to fundraise for disability-friendly sports equipment.
Paramedic Jonny Davies’ 29-year-old sister Clare suffers from the rare Smith-Magenis syndrome, a disorder which affects only one in 25,000 people and causes severe learning difficulties and behavioural problems.
Having previously trekked the Arctic Circle to raise funds for the condition, Jonny is now on a mission to promote inclusion in sport by raising £3000 for disability-friendly sports equipment at Larne Adult Centre, which his sister attends.
“I have wanted to set up a triathlon in Ballygally for years as it has a real unspoilt beauty, and I think we should be doing more in this area,” he stated.
“We have named the event the White Bear Triathlon, after the Ballygally bear, and it will be a full iron-distance triathlon with all the profits after costs going to Larne Adult Centre.
“Ballygally beach is perfect, the scenery is fabulous and the area has the perfect layout.
“When I travelled I found that Northern Ireland is one of the most beauthiful places in the world and we also have low traffic levels and good cycling routes.
“The route will include Carnfunnock, Garron Tower, Carnlough, Slemish, Glenarm, and Sallagh Brae and it will be one of the toughest triathlons in the UK. Participants will be able to choose between sprint, middle and long distance routes.”
Jonny is passionate about encouraging disabled participation in sport, and hopes to raise £3000 for the sensory equipment.
“The equipment is specially adapted for disabled people to use with ease, it’s designed to be used outdoors so it can go in the centre’s sensory garden,” he continued.
“It’s important to me that disabled people like Clare can take part in sport and feel included in society.
“We are in touch with Disability NI to see if we can get disabled athletes to take part in the triathlon, and I am planning for Clare to fire the starting gun at the event on the day.
“I am hoping that as many people as possible turn out to take part, and we are also looking for volunteers to act as marshals along the course.
“I would urge people to get involved to support a good cause.”
The White Bear Triathlon will take place on June 10.
For more information and to enter the event, visit the website at: www.whitebeartriathlon.co.uk.