2013 Volunteer Ireland Awards, Sports and Recreation

John McCarthy, Irish Wheelchair Association Sport

Ladysbridge, Co. Cork, Category Winner

John has volunteered with the Irish Wheelchair Association Sport for over 20 years. He has trained people in athletics the length and breath of the country often traveling from Cork to Offaly, Kildare or Templemore to do a session and never wanting to accept a penny for it. He concentrates mainly on field events, discus, javelin and shot-put and these sessions can be up to 3 hours long. He trains people with very different disabilities, and by organising training sessions together it provides a social outlet and an informal support network for people with disabilities and their families.  John tailors his training to suit each person and his or her individual needs, he looks at the person holistically, rather than focusing on the disability.

John is also involved with Cerebral Palsy Ireland and the Rebel Wheelers in Cork, a multi sports clubs for young people aged 5-18 years with physical disabilities. Evelyn Fitzgerald nominated John for a Volunteer Ireland Award, she said “He makes a huge difference in people's lives, the self belief that he instils in all of the athletes as result of his endless patience and passion for what he does, which ultimately results in a great sense of wellbeing and personal satisfaction when we achieve.  He is very reluctant to take any credit when we do well…I could write a book on the generosity of this man and as he never wants to take a penny for his time, I would just love to see him recognized as an amazing volunteer, and to let him know how much we appreciate him.”



Photo courtesy of Simona Kadubcová