CORK schoolboy Oliver Lynch has been recognised as a ‘community hero’ for his fundraising heroics last summer.
The eight-year-old Ballincollig boy, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, raised €37,000 with his ‘5k in 50-days’ walk last year. The inspirational Cork youth has now added another €20,000 to the tally after he was named one of Axa’s five community hero winners during last night’s Late Late Show.
The hero awards programme was developed to celebrate the unsung heroes in communities nationwide and to support charities. Axa will donate €20,000 to each of the winners’ chosen charities and each winner will also get a personal award of €5,000 to mark their achievement.
Oliver walked five kilometres over 50 days in his walking frame outside his home every day from mid-April to July last year to raise money for three charities Enable Ireland, Dogs for the Disabled, and the CUH Charity.
His mum Alison collected the prize from talkshow host Ryan Tubridy, while Oliver, his twin Reuben, his older sister Caoimhe and their dad watched on from home.
His proud father Kevin acclaimed Oliver’s efforts.
“It is fantastic recognition. We are all delighted. The whole family is thrilled and so proud. It is a great honour for his achievement. He has great determination. We had the popcorn out and we were cheering on mom from our home. His siblings are so proud of Oliver’s achievements,” he said.
While Oliver’s GoFundMe account closed last July, people are still finding ways to donate money and the total raised has topped €37,000. Mr Lynch said that the family have been overwhelmed with the support they have received from the Cork public.
"The President wrote him a lovely letter saluting his courage and hailing him as ‘one of life’s great heroes’. The Taoiseach sent him a video message praising Oliver for his resilience.”
Oliver began his challenge after he became frustrated that he could not join siblings Reuben and Caoimhe in their couch to 5k challenge. His proud dad refused to rule out another fundraising initiative in the near future for the second class pupil in Gaelscoil Uí Riordáin Primary School, Ballincollig.
“He got a new bike recently so he might embark on another fundraiser down the line. He is a great ambassador for his school, family, charities and community,” he added.