Irish rugby star Conor Murray has been announced as a new Ambassador for Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) and he is urging his fans to get active and challenge themselves to run, jog, walk, cycle or swim a distance of 100 kms in 21 days – all while raising vital funds for the charity.
DSI’s 21 day challenge is a fun virtual fundraiser where participants can complete the challenge however and wherever they wish over 21 consecutive days from when they kick off – whether they complete the distance at home, in their local park or on the streets, all while adhering to the Level 5 restrictions.
Announcing his ambassadorship, Conor Murray said: “I’m delighted to support Down Syndrome Ireland – I have a great admiration for the work they do across the country. My father has been involved with the Tour de Munster for many years which has benefited Down Syndrome Ireland’s Munster branches to bring much needed services directly to those that need it most.”
“Right now we’re all in lockdown but we are still allowed to exercise up to 5km from our homes. The 21 day challenge encourages people to get up and get active during what is a uniquely stressful time for everyone.”
Funds raised will be used to help DSI meet its annual fundraising target of €3.6 million to continue providing essential services, programmes and supports to the charity’s 3,500 members and their families across the country.
Conor added: “Completing 100 kms in just 21 days is no easy challenge but with the flexibility of being able to mix it up and do part swimming, part running or maybe part walking, it’s a challenge that’s achievable. Whether people take part in their homes, in their local park or on the streets, they can decide the place and they decide the pace. I’m appealing to people to get involved. It’s a great way to get active with family, friends or colleagues, have some fun and help raise money to support DSI.”
Down syndrome occurs when there is one extra copy of chromosome 21 in cells in the body. As that number has particular meaning for DSI and the Down syndrome community, the charity chose it as the number of days in which participants complete the 100 kms.
Deirdre Saul, interim CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland added: “We are so delighted to have Conor on board to support Down Syndrome Ireland – he’s is a wonderful ambassador and we’re so grateful to him for taking the time during what is a very busy time to support children and adults with Down syndrome.
“Like most charities, we’ve been very hard hit by the pandemic. Each year, we need to fundraise €3.6m – which is 86% of our income – to continue our vital work so we’re grateful for any support people can give. ”
For more information about the 21 Day Challenge, or to sign up, please visit www.downsyndrome.ie. DSI have urged supporters to join the conversation online using the hashtag #ShareTheJourney, #DSI21DayChallenge and #Fundraising4DSI.