Do it for Dan earns special recognition in inaugural GPA Excellence Awards
The Do it for Dan campaign which captured the hearts and minds of the nation in 2020 has been chosen as the Chair’s Choice at the inaugural GPA Excellence Awards, the winners of which have been revealed on the Gaelic Players Association’s (GPA) social media channels this week.
The role of inter-county players past and present in driving awareness and donations in support of Dan Donoher was recognised by the judging committee made up of Tom Parsons and Maria Kinsella (Joint Chairs of the GPA’s Transitional National Executive Committee) and Sarah O’Connor (Head of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship at Wilson Hartnell Public Relations)
Dan Donoher, the son of former Laois players Aisling and Niall Donoher, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) in late 2019. Previously there has been no cure for SMA but a new treatment called Zolgensma became available in America leading to the establishment of the Do it for Dan Trust to raise funds to pay for the expensive treatment. Over €2 million was raised with the support of the wider community.
The GPA Excellence Awards Judging Committee said; “These awards were established to honour the contributions of inter-county players off the pitch. The Chair’s Choice Award recognises campaigns or projects that have had a massive impact in terms of their objectives and also in bringing people together in support of a common purpose. The Do it for Dan campaign certainly did that and we’re very proud to honour the campaign and Dan and his family with this award.”
On hearing news of the announcement Aisling Donoher said; “Thanks so much to the GPA for the Chair’s Choice Award and to the entire GAA community for what they did for our little boy. Thanks to the Do it for Dan committee; without them none of this would have happened. And thanks to the trustees who continue to manage everything for Dan; we are so lucky to have you all.
“It has been a roller coaster of a year but we all had each other. Dan has taught us, and so many others, how resilient kids are and how SMA will not define him. We are so proud of him and of how far he has come in the past twelve months, despite everything he has gone through. He is a determined little boy who will continue to defy all the odds stacked against him. We will be beside him every step of the way.”
The Chair’s Choice was the final award revealed this week. The other awards were:
This is the first year of the GPA Excellence Awards which were established to recognise the massive amount of good work being done by inter-county players past and present in support of good causes around the country and in their off-field development.