The Bluestack Challenge is underway with 250 participants taking on the 30km walk to support people with special needs.

Due to the recent heavy and prolonged rainfall, there were some last minute changes to the route. But participants were undeterred by the weather and there was a warm and friendly atmosphere as the group left the Bluestack Centre in Drimarone at 8.30am this morning (Saturday). 

They were reminded that it was a charity event and an endurance event. However, it is also a social event and Joe Coyle who was one of the guides encouraged everyone to get to know some of the fellow walkers along on the way.

"There are no strangers here," he said. "Only friends who haven't met."

Fellow guide John McGroary told walkers not to be alarmed if they noticed leaders moving poles to adjust the route. He assured them that this was because leaders might need to make a call to adjust routes to minimise damage to the mountain.

Guide John Damien Gallagher reminded the walkers to leave no trace. In other words, have the lowest possible impact on the land and leave no rubbish behind.

Organisers thanked participants as well as the farmers who allowed the route to cross their land.

Charity

This event the main fundraiser for the Bluestack Special Needs Foundation. Money raised will ensure that the foundation can continue to provide crucial support services. It supports people with intellectual, physical or emotional disabilities and their families. 

The walkers all have sponsorship cards as well as having paid their own registration fee. All support is greatly appreciated. It will go towards services such as physical and occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and support numerous clubs and activities that help those who use them to reach their full potential.

Donations can also be made via the website link below. 

More information on the foundation and on the Bluestack Challenge can be found at http://www.bluestackfoundation.com/

For more on how money raised is helping to change lives and why this challenge is so important, see: A day in my shoes - Will you do the Bluestack Challenge to help people with special needs? 

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