Inspirational Cork boy is set to take part in The Echo Women's Mini Marathon

‘6km Your Way’ is the theme of The Echo Virtual Women’s Mini Marathon this year. CHRIS DUNNE talks to the mum of a Cork boy who is doing just that
Inspirational Cork boy is set to take part in The Echo Women's Mini Marathon

Mother and son Adam and Therese Clarke. Picture: Darragh Kane

CORK boy Adam Clarke, who is taking part in The Echo Virtual Women’s Mini-Marathon this September, was always going places. Five years ago he arrived into this world at speed, welcomed into the loving arms of his mum and dad.

“We had a long road to get Adam,” says his mum, Therese, who sadly miscarried three babies before Adam arrived.

“Adam was in a hurry!”

His brother and sister made for a wider circle of love.

“And then we had the other two, Ned, and then Hannah, who was born in lockdown, they were total surprises!”

Mother and son Adam and Therese Clarke with Siobhan Green, Maria Desmond, Patricia O'Regan and Ellen Murphy from Enable Ireland. Picture: Darragh Kane
Mother and son Adam and Therese Clarke with Siobhan Green, Maria Desmond, Patricia O'Regan and Ellen Murphy from Enable Ireland. Picture: Darragh Kane

It is no surprise that Adam and his family, from Newcestown, have chosen to fund-raise for Enable Ireland where Adam has been received life-changing services, the best care and support, and where he has made life-long friends whom he adores.

“Adam is an adoringly witty boy who was born with Cerebral Palsy as a tiny baby, and since, more specifically, Triplegic cerebral palsy, where it affects three of his limbs, both his legs and upper right side,” explains Therese.

“Adam gets about aided with his walker, and also has ‘Ted’, his power wheelchair.”

He will be cumulatively walking his own 6km with the help of his brother and sister over the next while to help raise money for Enable Ireland so they can help others like him.

“He has taken every challenge and smashed it,” says Therese.

“So we have no doubt he will clock up his own 6km for the mini-marathon. All funds raised will go directly to this great cause, Enable Ireland.”

Adam has benefitted greatly from the early intervention services provided by Enable Ireland — occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, hydrotherapy, paediatrician advice, preschool and orthopaedic.

The boy had a hard start in life.

“He was in the neonatal unit for 15 days and I was there all day, every day,” says Therese.

“Adam was tube fed the first few days and he was on antibiotics.”

Then mum took over.

“I decided to breast-feed Adam.

‘Let’s do this’, I said. And he thrived from the start.”

The strong bond between mother and son was made even stronger.

“I bounced in the door every day and stayed until I was kicked out at night! I used to call the neonatal the underground unit!”

Adam progressed well under a dedicated medical team and from the loving care of his parents.

“On July 22, the professor said we could take him home,” says Therese.

“Adam received the best of care from CUMH from the day he was born. There was no compromise on the level of care he was given, even before he was born. I was a high-risk pregnancy and I received the utmost level of care as well. We were all very much minded and protected at the hospital.”

Adam was welcomed home on a beautiful July day by his mum Therese and his dad, Fergal.

“Fergal is a locksmith,” says Therese. 

Maybe that’s where Adam gets his love of all things mechanical, from his dad?

“Possibly! “says Therese.

Adam and Therese Clarke with staff from Enable Ireland. Picture: Darragh Kane
Adam and Therese Clarke with staff from Enable Ireland. Picture: Darragh Kane

“Adam loves his John Deere battery-powered tractor; it’s like a mini-jeep going around and he loves ‘Ted’, his power wheelchair, using it for distance to get from A to B.”

He gets his looks from the mum’s side, the O’Sullivans.

“He has my curly hair,” says Therese. “Adam has a head of blonde curls. And he has a great personality.”

He has a good mix.

“There’s a bit of his dad in him!”

So he is very photogenic?

“He loves having his picture taken,” says Therese, laughing.

And he’s raring to go.

“When Darragh, the photographer arrived for the photoshoot for Enable Ireland, he said; where’s the walk, when do we walk!”

Adam, who doesn’t hang about, has already raised a whopping €2,000 for Enable Ireland through his idonate facebook page.

“Charlie Ryan, who is a neighbour and a good friend of ours, encouraged Adam to set up a fund-raising page. It happened organically and it took off!”

Adam thrived from day one.

“When he came home, I gave him anti-coagulant injections for a short time to keep his blood flowing, he had check-ups every day.”

Early intervention services from Enable Ireland helped Adam progress, helping him to reach his full potential.

“The physiotherapist, the occupational therapist, the psychologist and the paediatrician, were all at the initial meeting with us.

“It was all very inclusive, with Adam being the main man,” says Therese.

“It is all about the child, the right service and the right time.

“Initially, we attended The Lavanagh Centre in Blackrock and then to the new Enable Ireland centre at Curraheen,” says Therese.

Adam enjoyed playschool.

“He learned about different textures through touch therapy with materials like sand and foam, for instance, and he continued to receive great back-up from the physiotherapist and occupational therapist who, from day one, taught him the right thing to do. Everyone worked with Adam, not just us at home.”

Adam is graduating from playschool, which he attended three days a week, to ‘big school’, Bishop Galvin National School, in a few weeks’ time.

“That will be a very big day for him,” says Therese.

“It’ll be huge. All his equipment, his chair and table, for instance, has all been moved from playschool across the basketball court to ‘big school’.”

Adam is looking forward to playing ball.

“He says; ’I want to play ball with them’, when he sees the young lads playing GAA or basketball,” says Therese.

He’ll be well able to go to the blackboard in the classroom.

“If he’s called to the blackboard in class, he is well able to transition himself from his chair, raising himself up to write on the blackboard.”

He likes the idea of writing on the blackboard in the classroom.

“I can write on the blackboard too,” says Adam importantly.

“He’s a talker!” says Therese.

He’s a doer too.

“Right now we are in the potty training process, like his younger brother, Ned,” says Therese.

“It is a massive feat for Adam and it is a personal goal for him.”

Adam, never one to rest on his laurels, is in serious training for The Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon.

“When we were in Killarney recently, Adam walked from the hotel over to the jarveys. That was a big distance for him. He’s taking the mini-marathon seriously!”

How are his brother and sister shaping up?

“They are both very good with Adam,” says Therese.

“Because we are always in and out for appointments they know no different.  Adam knows his own mind, but they do too!” 

They are all winners.

“Even if we won the Lotto, we would stay the way we are now,” says Therese.

“Our three kids are amazing.” 

 Adam and Therese Clarke pictured centre, with Siobhán Green, Patricia O’Regan, Ellen Murphy and Maria Desmond. Picture: Darragh Kane
 Adam and Therese Clarke pictured centre, with Siobhán Green, Patricia O’Regan, Ellen Murphy and Maria Desmond. Picture: Darragh Kane

Enable Ireland is amazing too.

“We can never thank them enough,” says Therese.

“We are very lucky, Adam is so responsive. He took everything on board and did it.”

Adam, who is a go-getter, is taking more steps every day.

“The school is putting down concrete in the yard so that Adam can get around more easily. We’ll be doing the same here at home, it’s a life-long project! Adam is taking more steps every day,” says Therese.

“He is very independent.” 

Adam loves getting around with ‘Ted’.

“He’s not reliant on us,” says Therese.

“Adam is set to have surgeries on his legs carried out by Mr Colum Taylor. As soon as we get the date we’re ready.” 

The Clarkes are ever-ready to get going for the mini-marathon raising funds for Enable Ireland.

“Adam’s 6km on his walker is what he wants to do to help other children like him,” says Therese.

Adam wants others to benefit from the fantastic services Enable Ireland provide.

“He can’t believe people are paying money to see him walk!” 

Adam thought he had more work to do.

“He thought he’d have to collect the money himself and deliver the money to Maria in Enable!”

 Adam is good at delivering the goods.

“Although he needs 24/7 assistance, our goal for him to be able to communicate has been well and truely squashed. Independence is well within his reach for an amazing quality of life as he is an able problem solver and he loves a challenge.” 

On behalf of Enable Ireland Maria Desmond says: “A huge thank you to Adam, Therese, and the rest of the Clarke family and friends for supporting us. All funds raised will go to complete the funding for our new children’s centre in Curraheen where three network teams are based providing services to over 1,500 children.” 

Training for a mini-marathon is thirsty work.

“He wants to get a Mr Freeze from the freezer before he says goodbye to you,” says Therese speaking to me on the phone from her home.

“Bye now,” says Adam.

It’s true-this young man doesn’t hang about! 

Anyone who would like to support Team Enable call:087-6868333 to donate to adam’s fundraiser:

https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/11409893_adam-clarke-s-fundraising-page.html

Enable Ireland race pack.
Enable Ireland race pack.

Anyone who signs up to run the marathon in support of Enable Ireland will receive a complimentary marathon pack including an Enable Ireland t-shirt, snood, trolley disc key-ring, fun snap-band and a 20% off Cummins Sports voucher (for full price stock in-store and online).

MORE ABOUT THE MINI MARATHON

The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon virtual race day goes ahead this year on September 19. But don’t worry, if you can’t do your virtual 6k on that date, you can do it between Friday, September 16 and 26.

Registration this year is as follows;

a) Early Bird, 10 euro = includes a race number and medal

b) After Early Bird Closes = 15 euro

There will be the option for people to set up an iDonate fundraising page for registered charities.

You can register for the event at the new site: www.echolive.ie/minimarathon

Also keep an eye on social media @theechominimarathon

SHARE YOUR MEMORIES WITH US

Did you take part in the mini marathon in 1982? Or have you taken part in the event for a number of years? Do you have any special stories or memories to share with us? We want to hear from you. We will be sharing them in WoW! over the coming weeks, Email us at elaine.duggan@theecho.ie

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