Cork athlete Cian pushed 5k a day in his wheelchair throughout May for Spina Bifida fundraiser

Cork athlete Cian pushed 5k a day in his wheelchair throughout May for Spina Bifida fundraiser

Munster Technological University (MTU) student and International para-athlete Cian O’Neill from Ballyphehane, who covered 100km in May to raise funds for Cork Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association. Cian is pictured with Craig Harrington, Athletics Development Officer Cork & MTU, along with Kate Feeney from Cork Sports Partnership. Picture: Brian Lougheed

MORE than €1,700 has been raised for charity by a para-athlete who pushed 5km a day for the month of May in his wheelchair.

Cian O’Neill, 22, is currently an MTU scholarship athlete studying recreation and leisure management.

Cian, who is in his fourth year, was born with Spina Bifida and is one of Ireland’s leading wheelchair-throwing athletes, competing annually at the World Junior Games. He currently specialises in the javelin and discus events.

Cian completed the challenge for Cork Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association and has raised over €1,700 for the charity that has supported him all his life.

On his final session, Cian ended up doing 5km in 19:34, which was a personal best by 10 minutes.

This was a challenge Cian came up with all by himself to wheel 100km over the month of May to raise funds for Cork Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association.

Cork Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association (CSBHA) is a small local voluntary association looking after members in Cork, and the surrounding area with Spina Bifida.

The organisation looks after members financially, with help towards costs such as trips to hospitals, adaptations to homes, equipment to attend college and school, a contribution towards respite, a Christmas party and summer party, which offer a chance to get together and make friends.

A death grant is also available to support families suffering financial and emotional hardship among other forms of assistance.

Cian said: “I took on the challenge for a number of reasons, I wanted to do something for the charity that has supported me over the years. Due to lockdown I was about the house a lot more and wanted to get out and do something and I was looking to get fitter.”

The young para-athlete said he found the fundraiser tough. “I wasn’t very used to cardio training and I was a bit stiff at the start but I got better and fitter as the weeks went by.”

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