Anna crowned Millennial of the Year
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.