Darragh’s story shows the power of Flowers of Hope
Cope Foundation, one of Cork’s longest established charities, has just started its revamped Flowers of Hope fundraising campaign, taking place from April 1st – 14th. The organisation working with people with disabilities and/or autism wants to bring more colour to Cork by celebrating inclusive communities, workplaces and schools.
The funding raised will be used to provide assistive technology solutions for people to live ‘Your Life, Your Way’. Assistive technology is any technological intervention that can enable a person to do something – from everyday tasks to those ‘never-seemed-possible achievements’. For example, assistive technology could help a person to overcome or manage communication difficulties, cognitive issues, mobility limitations, and even social barriers.
Eight year old Darragh Mackey has autism and is nonverbal. Up until recently, Darragh’s ability to communicate with his family, friends and teachers in Scoil Aislinn was limited to using picture cards and some Lámh signs to communicate.
Cope Foundation’s Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) decided to trial a special communication device that allows Darragh to use a very broad range of voiced phrases, vocabulary, nouns etc. It is a custom-built piece of software that can create unique sentences, responses and words for Darragh specifically – which means he is genuinely getting his message across for the first time ever. Now Darragh has a combination of communication methods that has opened up a whole new world for him and his family.
Darragh’s mother, Natalie Mackey says, “The impact of this device on Darragh’s life has been huge, and we have already noticed a remarkable change in him. Like all eight year olds, Darragh is a very busy boy and this technology enables him to tell people what he wants, feels, sees and hears. It gives him the power of choice, the ability to interact in a meaningful way, and most importantly to have a voice. I am so proud of him, and what he has achieved in such a short space of time.”
Cope Foundation wants to be able to find more solutions like this for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or autism. Flowers of Hope will raise much needed funds that will be invested in assistive technology so that the impossible will seem possible for more and more people.
Seán Abbott, Chief Executive of Cope Foundation said “Flowers of Hope is an exciting campaign for Cope Foundation as it raises awareness about the need to embrace diversity and accept people for who they are (not for what they can or can’t do). We want to see communities, schools and workplaces bringing more colour into their lives by supporting Flowers of Hope this April and in doing so, raising much-needed funds for potentially life-changing assistive technology projects at Cope Foundation.”
No matter where you are, you can take part. You could organise a Flowers of Hope Coffee Break or Bake Off at work, school or in your local community and share a cuppa for Cope. Or lace up those runners and do a Flower Power Walk at lunchtime with colleagues, friends or classmates.
Why not wear something floral (dig out that lovely floral dress or shirt) and donate €4 to Cope Foundation by text (Text COPECORK to 50300) or online and share your ‘floral selfie’ with the hashtag #FlowersOfHope? Flowers of Hope lapel pins and seeds will also be available to purchase at various outlets across Cork. The seeds (nasturtiums) can be planted this Spring and they will add great colour to any garden.