The 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is just days away and Crosskeys man Jimmy O’Boyle is once again calling on local supporters to help raise funds for learning disability charity Mencap.
For the third year in a row, Jimmy is set to take on the Eight-Mile Walk, one of the events on Marathon Day, in aid of Mencap, the official charity partner of the event.
Six years ago, Jimmy spent 12 months in hospital, suffering from a tumour and kidney failure.
Due to a calcium disease that caused severe muscle weakness, Jimmy was unable to walk.
However, with great strength and determination, Jimmy is back on his feet and has completed six walks for a variety of charities.
He said: “When I recovered from the muscle damage and was able to walk again, I realised I wanted to do something great both for myself and for others.
“Over the years I have supported many charities, including the hospital who did so much for me, but this year I am running for Mencap because of the incredible work the charity does for young children across Northern Ireland.
“I don’t have any kids of my own, but I have seven nieces and three nephews and I love children. I really hope the money I raise will help those children who really need it.”
Jimmy is the longest serving driver for Mulgrew Haulage in Dromore and is looking to his colleagues for some support.
In recognition of his beloved Volvo 750 lorry, this year’s marathon organisers have assigned him with the race number 10750.
Last year, Jimmy was Mencap’s top fundraiser for the Eight Mile Walk, a target he is hoping to achieve again this year.
“I like the traditional routes of fundraising,” he said. “Nothing beats asking people with a pen and a sponsorship form.
“I encourage everyone to give something, no matter how small.”
Margaret Kelly, Director, Mencap Northern Ireland said: “We would like to thank Mr O’Boyle for sharing his story.
“It is because of people like Jimmy, who dedicate their time to help us, that we can continue to support those with a learning disability in Northern Ireland.
“We want to be able to reach even more young people in Northern Ireland and for this we urgently need funds to keep crucial programmes running and help us launch new initiatives to reach as many families as we can,” said Margaret.