Cork father says beach wheelchair helped his family to have an incredible day out

Cork father says beach wheelchair helped his family to have an incredible day out
Lilly O'Dea using the beach wheelchair at Warren Beach, Rosscarbery at the weekend. Picture: Ger O'Dea.

However, thanks to the provision of a beach wheelchair at Warren Beach, the stunning shorelines at Rosscarbery was accessible to Lilly O'Dea, a nine-year-old wheelchair user from Castlelyons.

Lilly, who has an ultra-rare condition called Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, was able to splash in the water with her six-year-old sister Katie on Sunday with the use of a special wheelchair which can be easily manoeuvred on sand and in the water. 

"It was an excellent experience for us. 

Katie, 6, and Lilly, 9, at Warren Beach, Rosscarbery at the weekend. Picture: Ger O'Dea.
Katie, 6, and Lilly, 9, at Warren Beach, Rosscarbery at the weekend. Picture: Ger O'Dea.

"As a dad, looking at the two girls playing in the waves was something that I didn’t ever see happening and something Katie didn’t ever think she would be able to do with her sister," Ger O'Dea, Lilly and Katie's father told The Echo

"With the nature of a wheelchair itself, the wheels are designed to be skinny so it makes less contact with the road and it’s easier to push, but when it comes to a beach, it sinks straight away," he said.

"I had heard of this beach wheelchair last year but I just hadn’t the opportunity to get down and try it out but as it happened we stayed in Clonakilty for two nights over the weekend and I contacted them to book it.

"The beach wheelchair was fantastic, It was very easy to manoeuvre," Ger explained.

Katie, 6, and Lilly, 9, at Warren Beach, Rosscarbery at the weekend. Picture: Ger O'Dea.
Katie, 6, and Lilly, 9, at Warren Beach, Rosscarbery at the weekend. Picture: Ger O'Dea.

The beach wheelchair was an initiative launched by Cork County Council last year and is available this season again from Warren Beach.

Warren Beach was selected following an audit of a number of beaches in the county by Disability Federation of Ireland.

The wheelchair may be taken out, in one hour slots commencing at 11am daily, with a last booking of 5pm.

Ger, who is an officer with the National Ambulance Service, lauded the beach wheelchair saying it was a "huge thing altogether" for the family to be able to experience a beach day out together. 

To book the beach wheelchair contact 087-6602949 or 087-2186529.

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