A Dublin father is taking part in Ireland’s toughest cycle race this week to raise money for his teenage son’s special school.
driaan Pretorius from Blanchardstown decided to take part in this year’s Rás Tailteann in honor of his eldest son Ben (15), who lives with a rare genetic mutation known as STXBP1. The disease, which was diagnosed when he was seven years old, causes severe developmental and physical delay, as well as epilepsy.
The grueling race, which started at Tallaght Stadium today, will see cyclists from 36 Irish and international teams cover a distance of 755km over the next five days. The Rás route will pass through several counties including Westmeath, Kerry, Limerick and Clare, before ending in Blackrock, Dundalk on Sunday June 19.
Mr Pretorius, an avid cyclist, aims to raise €10 for every kilometer he rides on the five stages and hopes to donate €7,550 to the Daughters of Charity Development Education Center on Navan Road, where his frequent son.
“The school is doing a fantastic job with very limited resources, but the classrooms are quite empty and could use an upgrade,” he said. “They also require additional equipment, such as interactive whiteboards that serve as teaching aids and enhance the sensory experience of students.
“Any equipment that meets special needs tends to be very expensive. They shouldn’t have to fight for funding for these things just because it’s a special needs school.
The father-of-three, from South Africa, said Ben is non-verbal and confined to a wheelchair.
“My wife and I take care of all his needs, like changing him and feeding him,” he said.
Mr Pretorius, a Luas depot manager in Sandyford, is taking part in Ireland’s number one elite cycling event as a guest rider with St Tiernan’s after his own club in Lucan was unable to enter a team of five .
Donations can be made on the fundraising page at https://gofund.me/da4ca492