Friends help Eric push himself for 5km without needing assistance

By Hayden Moore

A GROUP of friends have banded together to raise funds for their friend Eric Byrne, and ultimately help him accomplish his goal of independently pushing himself 5km.

Eric Byrne (33) was born with Spina Bifida and scoliosis and has been wheelchair bound for his entire life.

Eric Byrne wheelchair fundraise2r 1

Eric Byrne has set a New Year’s resolution to push himself independently for 5km without needing assistance

As two of his wheelchairs are causing issues, they are hoping to purchase Eric a sports wheelchair and donate the remaining money to a charity in Clondalkin.

A native of Harelawn in Clondalkin, Eric found himself struggling with his mental health and trapped at home for a lot of 2020, massively impacting his quality of life.

“Throughout last year my electric wheelchair kept breaking down on me, so I only had the manual chair,” Eric tells The Echo.

“The thing about the manual chair is that it’s not suited to long-distance pushing, it’s quite heavy because it has a moulded seat to fit around my body and the wheels are behind my arms as well so it’s a little more difficult.

“I’d have quite a low level of fitness so with the electric chair breaking and the Covid pandemic, I basically just couldn’t leave the house.

“It was quite a challenging year, I honestly found myself feeling very down and going into myself a bit with not being able to get out.”

Determined to put his experiences of the past year to bed, Eric set a New Year’s Resolution to be able to push himself independently for 5km without needing any assistance by the end of 2021.

Eric added: “I just decided this year to really challenge myself and look, you have to start somewhere, so I’ve taken it upon myself to start training.”

“Just to be able to propel myself around the park even for the mental health would be huge.”

All from North Clondalkin, six of Eric’s friends have set up a GoFundMe to raise funds to buy Eric a sports wheelchair, which would be better suited to longer distances.

To raise awareness for the fundraiser, the lads are set to run a half-marathon, taking turns pushing Eric, on March 7.

At the time of going to print, the fundraiser had raised just under €4,000.

To support the GoFundMe, visit: HERE.

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