Anna is the ‘Mil­lenial of the Year’ ti­tle win­ner

Wexford People - - FRONT PAGE - By MARIA PEP­PER

YOUNG Ross­lare woman Anna Kelly has been crowned ‘Mil­len­nial of the Year’ in a fundrais­ing com­pe­ti­tion in aid of Down Syn­drome Ire­land.

Anna (25) was pre­sented with the award by MMA coach John Ka­vanagh at a Mil­len­nial Ball spon­sored by Ir­ish Life in the Man­sion House in Dublin.

The com­pe­ti­tion saw more than 150 of Ire­land’s promis­ing young peo­ple raise €150,000 for the char­ity’s Abil­ity Pro­gramme which aims to pro­vide ac­cess to em­ploy­ment for peo­ple with Down Syn­drome.

Anna, a daugh­ter of Bill and Iso­bel Kelly of Kelly’s Re­sort Ho­tel in Ross­lare, raised more than €10,000 dur­ing four months of ac­tiv­i­ties which in­cluded par­tic­i­pat­ing in a Half Iron Man as part of a re­lay team with her dad (cy­cling 90 km), her sis­ter Grace (swim­ming 1.9 km) and Anna run­ning the Half Marathon (21km)

The mo­ti­va­tion for tak­ing part in the Mil­len­nial of the Year came partly from a de­sire to im­prove op­por­tu­ni­ties for her sis­ter Faye (23), who has Down syn­drome.

‘I wanted to par­tic­i­pate in the event to raise money for a cause very close to my heart, Down Syn­drome Ire­land’s Abil­ity Pro­gramme, which gives adults with Down Syn­drome ac­cess to mean­ing­ful em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties’, she said.

‘I have five sis­ters, one who is ex­tra spe­cial to us all, Faye is her name. Faye has Down syn­drome and is the light of our lives. There is no rea­son why Faye shouldn’t get the same op­por­tu­nity as her sis­ters had to find full-time em­ploy­ment in Ire­land’ said Anna.

‘When you judge some­one based on their di­ag­no­sis, you miss out on their ex­tra­or­di­nary abil­i­ties and unique­ness.’

The CEO of Down Syn­drome Ire­land Gary Owens con­grat­u­lated Anna on her work in ad­vo­cat­ing and fundrais­ing in hon­our of her sis­ter Faye so that she can have bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Ir­ish work­place.

‘We are im­mensely proud and grate­ful for all her hard work and com­mit­ment to raise funds for our Abil­ity Pro­gramme’, she said.

‘All of us at Down Syn­drome Ire­land are truly grate­ful and over­joyed at the pro­found ded­i­ca­tion of all the 150 mil­len­ni­als who took part in the Mil­len­nial of the Year. We were truly blown away by their her­culean ef­fort to fundraise for bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple with Down syn­drome’, he added.

Anna also won the award for Most Money Fundraised In­di­vid­ual Award and the Fastest Fundraiser Award.

The an­nual fundrais­ing com­pe­ti­tion aims to mo­bilise a gen­er­a­tion to be a force for change and is sup­ported by Ir­ish Life.

It was founded this year by Daniel Hinds and Au­drey Shiels with a com­mit­tee of 13 young grad­u­ates from Ac­cen­ture, PwC, In­ter­com, Google, Mi­crosoft, Bank of Ire­land, GradLife and xSellco.

Anna Kelly with her awards at the Mil­len­nial Ball in Dublin’s Man­sion House.

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