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Video: Ulster's Tommy Bowe joins cross-community ‘Walk the Walls’ event to help Belfast toddler take his first steps


He's the little boy bringing together both sides of the Belfast community, with the help of some famous sporting friends, in a bid to help him walk.

Ulster Rugby star Tommy Bowe will be joining the Belfast Giants for first peace wall walk in a bid to raise funds to help Cavan O’Neill get a life-changing operation.

Cavan suffers a specific kind of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia that affects his legs, making it difficult for him to walk.

His mum and dad launched the campaign Cavan's First Steps back in October in a bid to raise £80k to get him to America for a vital operation.

A pioneering spinal surgery in St Louis will permanently release Cavan from pain and allow him to walk unaided in all environments by permanently severing the nerves that have caused his tightness.

Tommy Bowe said: “I have seen the benefits sports can bring to individuals and the wider community in which they live. I have seen the great work done by the young people involved in Active Communities Network’s programmes and how crucial these activities are for broadening the horizons, raising aspirations and crucially giving them skills and networks to achieve.

He added: “Walk the Walls is yet another great and active campaign on the ACN agenda. It’s for a great little boy, an amazing cause and I’m delighted to be part of it. What these young people are doing; working together to help Cavan walk is truly inspirational.”

Jim Donnelly, Head of Programmes at Active Communities NI said: “This event is a continuation of our Good Relations Programme which saw young people from both communities visit Auschwitz in February. These young people are coming together as an organising committee for this event.”

Emma O’Neill, Cavan’s mum said: “I am overawed by the determination of those involved in this walk. I have met many of the youths ahead of the Walk at their own events where they’ve raised funds for Cavan’s First Steps. They’re smart, passionate and headstrong individuals. I will always remember what they and Active Communities Network have done for us and we look forward to walking in future Walk the Walls and contributing to their next cause.”

Walk the Walls will kick off on Sunday 5 June from the New Barnsley Police Station in Belfast.

For more information please visit http://activecommunities.org.uk/

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