Sporting Legend Vinny Perth Named As Ambassador For RehabCare
The Dundalk manager is rowing behind organisation he credits with providing brighter futures for people with disabilities.
Vinny Perth has lent his support to disability service provider RehabCare Dundalk, by announcing he will raffle his first ever League of Ireland winning medal in the coming weeks to benefit the 150 people using its disabilities services throughout Dundalk.
The celebrated manager, who has a son with autism, has announced that he has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for RehabCare Dundalk with the surprise element that anyone donating will be entered into a raffle to win his winning League of Ireland medal. The medal will be presented to the lucky winner at the next home game.
Perth, who announced the fundraiser on Twitter, spoke about the longstanding friendship between Dundalk FC and RehabCare Dundalk and about his passion for organisations that champion the rights of people with disabilities.
“Since the lockdown, I’ve been speaking to my friends in RehabCare who reach into communities the length and breadth of Ireland and thinking about what the Club could do to support their work. The end of last season, I became League-winning manager for the first time, so I decided to set up a Go Fund Me page and raffle off the medal,” he said.
As an ambassador for RehabCare Dundalk, Perth says that being a father of a child with autism, he has a real understanding of the valuable work of the organisation and the difference it makes to the lives of people with disabilities.
“I have met a lot of RehabCare members in and around the club and, over time, I felt I wanted to help and to build a relationship with the people who attend the services. It’s something that’s come naturally to me, in my own situation with my son, there’s no doubt he’s different, but who says what ‘different’ is. For too many years, people with disabilities have been put into a corner by society and it’s only through the work of places like RehabCare that people get to play a more meaningful part in their communities, whether that’s through employment or education or whatever the case may be. I’m really passionate about that,” he said.
“As someone that’s been involved with sport for 90% of my life, I don’t know what my son’s particular passion is going to be, but I have to help him achieve it, whatever it may be. Just because someone is different, they aren’t any less valuable. It’s probably why I feel so strongly about what RehabCare do,” he added.
Speaking about the decision to give away his treasured medal, Vinny said: “Sport is so fickle, and when you are in a position to make a difference, I suppose that doesn’t last forever. I just feel it’s the right time to make a difference. Obviously, I treasure what we’ve achieved as a club, the medal will always be a symbol of that, but at the same time, but I have a respect for the work that RehabCare does and I think it’s going to a worthy cause.”
Mr Perth added that as one of the most successful sporting entities in Ireland over the last seven years it is important that the Club plays a central role in the life of the local community in Dundalk.
“So many people feel like they know us and feel like we’re just part of the community; it’s part of our job. We’re not footballers who are uncontactable. In the stands at a game, we could have a former Minister for Foreign Affairs sitting alongside somebody from RehabCare, sitting alongside the local bank manager; when we score, we really come together. When we win trophies, everyone celebrates in the exact same way. I think that’s what I’m most proud of, it doesn’t matter what part of society you’re from, you’re always welcome at the grounds,” he said.
Stephen Caraher, from RehabCare Dundalk, says they have received a huge amount of support from Dundalk FC for many years, with people from the services being invited to Job Shadow staff members at the club.
“For Vinny Perth to now make this unbelievably generous gesture speaks volumes about the man himself. We talked to him about his support for RehabCare, and after the meeting with him, we were absolutely buzzing. He is a compassionate, empathetic person and passionate about supporting people with disabilities.”
Stephen says that the excitement and appreciation amongst the people in the local services is palpable. “When I rang some of the lads that use the services, and told them what Vinny was doing for us, you would think they were after winning the World Cup. I wish Vinny had been there to hear what it means to them, it was so heartfelt.”
100 adults with disabilities access the three RehabCare resource centres in Louth, including the New Visions centre for young adults, and supported accommodation in the county. A further 80 children and their families rely on the Maria Goretti service for critical respite care.
To be contribute to this worthy cause and to be in with a chance to win the Dundalk manager’s medal, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/rehab-medal-competition