A blind journalist, canoeist and past pupil at ChildVision’s national education centre for blind children is paddling the River Shannon in aid of ChildVision. Wesley Bourke and his paddling partner Aisa Cooper will take on the 360km (225 mile) challenge from August 16 - 19, covering 100km per day for the first three days.
The challenge will begin at Dowra in County Cavan and cover the counties of Leitrim, Roscommon, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Galway, Clare and Tipperary as they make their way to Limerick. They expect to pass through Offaly on Friday, August 17.
“No blind person has ever done this before but I’m confident we’ll not only complete the challenge, but we’ll get it done on schedule,” said Bourke. “And ChildVision really deserves every support you can give them, and I hope everyone along the route will be generous in supporting them, and us, too.”
Wesley was diagnosed with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy at a eighteen while he was completing an apprenticeship with the Air Corp, leaving him with less than 15% vision. He attended ChildVision’s integrated post-primary school, Pobal Scoil Rosmini, to complete his Leaving Certificate. Graduating in 1998 Wesley went on to study International relations at the University of Hull and Kings College London. He now works as a journalist at An Cosantóir, the Defence Forces magazine.
An adventure enthusiast, Wesley recently completed the Devizes – Westminster International Canoeing Marathon with Aisa, paddling over 200km in a two man kayak in preparation for this event. Wesley and Aisa are members of the Celbridge Paddlers Canoe Club, Kildare.