A BORRIS woman was recognised by the Fighting Blindness charity for her indefatigable spirit at a black-tie gala recently. Áine Lennon received the Fighting Blindness Empowerment Award after she overcame her disability to raise more than €10,000 for charity with an epic cycle from Paris to Nice last year.
The 24-year-old said she was caught completely unawares when she was told about the award weeks before the ceremony.
Áine has lost the sight in her left eye and has limited vision in her right eye. She received the award for her ‘get up and go’ attitude and not allowing her condition to hinder her from living life to the full. In September, she cycled 700km across France in six days on a tandem piloted by Tom Metcalfe.
Speaking of the award, she said: “It’d be great if I can inspire anybody else to go out there and do something; that’s how I feel about it.”
Áine was joined by her parents Margaret and Paddy, brother John and friends at the charity’s annual sporting gala dinner in the Conrad Hotel. Rugby legends Shane Byrne, Mick Galwey and Philip Doyle, and horse racing champions David Casey and Bryan Cooper, also attended the event.
“I did not realise I was the only one getting the award on the night – that was a quite a shock. It was a brilliant evening altogether. We wouldn’t be used to the whole black tie affair!” quipped Áine.
Speaking during the sporting gala, Tony Ward, head of fundraising, with Fighting Blindness, lauded the courageous young Carlow woman.
“Áine is an incredible recipient of the empowerment award as she has truly shown how much a person can achieve when they put hard work into reaching a goal. She inspires hope and motivates everyone who meets her. We are extremely grateful to Áine and her family for their support and wish her continued success in everything she does,” he concluded.