THROUGHOUT February, an Enniskillen man and his autistic son were taking part in a 50K challenge to raise money for Autism NI.
As part of Autism NI’s ‘Fit February’ challenge, Carl Morrison and his four-year-old son, Hayden, have been out walking around Enniskillen, aiming to walk 50K in total to help fundraise for the charity.
So far through their JustGiving page, ‘Carl’s Fit 50K in February’, the father and son duo have raised more than £800.
“My son, Hayden, has non-verbal autism. He really enjoys walks, so me and him probably do up to 15-20K a week anyway,” said Carl, explaining that as Hayden has benefited from the work of Autism NI, they wanted to give something back.
With Hayden in his special needs buggy, which he requires because he can’t walk very far on his own, he and his dad’s walk usually takes in a loop around the town, covering around six or seven kilometers each time.
“Sometimes we go round Castle Coole or Castle Archdale,” said Carl, noting how much Hayden loves being in the fresh air.
Talking about how the work of Autism NI has helped her son, Hayden’s mum, Zara Bullion, said: “They helped me out with schooling and stuff for Hayden, and they sent me some training and packs to do over lockdown.”
Before the pandemic, Zara would have attended weekly meetings with the local Autism NI Fermanagh group.
When asked how being in lockdown has impacted Hayden, Zara said: “It’s been hard for everyone; it’s been a big change to his routine, but he’s doing well now, thankfully.
“He’s still able to go to school now during this lockdown, which has been a massive support for both me and the rest of the family.”
Focusing on the positives, she added: “It has been nice having the extra time with him at home, and doing more things with him.”
During the first lockdown, Carl and Zara got Hayden Marley – a Golden Retriever puppy – that has benefited him greatly.
“It’s been hard for him to adapt with everything that’s going on, but with the dog and stuff, he enjoys being outside, and going for walks with Marley,” added Zara.
To donate to Carl and Hayden’s fundraiser for Autism NI, see their JustGiving page at https://tinyurl.com/1qb25lun.