18 Aug 2022

Offaly man meets the President in special Áras visit

An Offaly man enjoyed a memorable visit to Áras an Uachtaráin recently where he met President, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina.

Gary Farrell from Rhode is the founder of Scoliosis Ireland, a support group that raises awareness of scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and also campaigns for shorter surgery times and the reintroduction of scoliosis screenings in schools so as to give our children a better chance if a curvature is detected at an early stage.

"We were the winners of The Volunteer Ireland Award for Campaigning and Awareness Raising and have a support group of 1260 members, we recently were asked to attend The President's Family Day Garden Party in Áras an Uachtaráin and it was an amazing honour," Gary told the Offaly Express. 

Scoliosis Ireland was founded in 2010 as Gary says there was no support group in Ireland at the time. "I have scoliosis myself so I know how important it is to chat members with a similar condition."

"We've worked alongside Temple Street and take part in fundraisers to raise awareness of scoliosis in Ireland and help children who suffer from this condition."

It was unbelievable to have my family and partner beside me in Áras an Uachtaráin on the day and for President Higgins and his wife Sabina to acknowledge our presence and stop to talk and shake hands.

Gary presented Michael D. Higgins with a plaque engraved with a poem that he had written, to which he replied, "I shall cherish this."

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