The GAA is encouraging football supporters to get behind Autism Awareness Month by staging a record-breaking attempt for the greatest number of people wearing a blue nose in one place.

Throughout April, Irish Autism Action is fundraising by selling blue noses, and the GAA wants supporters attending the Allianz Football League Finals on Sunday 27th April to wear their blue nose to help support the Irish charity, and claim a place in the record books!

This record attempt is designed to encourage sales of blue noses, which are available for €2 in Xtra-vision / HMV stores, Eddie Rocket Diners and supported by the GAA, INTEL, Fossets Circus, Nestle, Pat McDonnell’s Paint and Swapkit for the month of April, with all proceeds going to Irish Autism Action.

UK clubs have all held ‘blue nose’ charity events in recent years, but just over 1,200 is the most blue noses recorded in one place. With capacity crowds expected in Croke Park for the division 1 and 2 football league finals at the end of April, Irish Autism Action is expecting GAA supporters will more than smash the current record.

Keith Duffy, patron of Irish Autism Action, met with GAA officials this week to confirm details of the blue nose charity fundraiser, and thanked the national sporting organisation for its support.

“Autism affects families in all walks of life, and a diagnosis throws up many and diverse challenges for them. By wearing their blue nose on Allianz League Final day, GAA supporters will make a big difference to the quality of life of those living with autism ”, the Boyzone star said.

Autism is a neuro-developmental problem, where the brain is not fully engaged in areas including social interaction and communication. It affects about 1 in 110 children in Ireland; approximately 50,000 individuals countrywide.

The aim of Irish Autism Action is to raise the quality of life of those affected by autism, through helping provide diagnosis, initially, and the best standards in education, care, support, employment and equality of living opportunity.

Thanking the GAA, IAA chief executive Kevin Whelan said that Irish Autism Action doesn’t get State funding for its services, and so depends on the generosity of the public and organisations like the GAA. “The numbers affected by autism in Ireland are growing, so we are appealing to the generous nature of GAA fans to support both their teams and Irish Autism Action in Croker on April 27th next”, Kevin Whelan said.

Funds raised by Blue Nose Month will go towards supporting the work of the Autism Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath, which was established by the charity in 2012. The charity’s objective in setting up this unique facility in Ireland is to offer vital resources to children and adults on the spectrum through a variety of services including Assessment & Diagnosis, Autism Helpline, Information Centre, supported employment opportunities and Outreach Programmes.

Information and fundraising ideas are available on the Irish Autism Action website at www.autismireland.ie, and everyone throughout the country that can help with fundraising activity or donations should contact Irish Autism Action on 044-9371680.

What is Autism?
Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder, where the brain is not fully engaged in areas of social interaction and communication. People with autism can have severe difficulties in communicating and forming relationships with people, and in developing language, and using abstract concepts.

Autism is genetically pre-determined, although environmental ‘triggers’ may also be involved in its growing incidence. Numbers being diagnosed with autism are rising, which may, in part, be due to better diagnostic procedures. While a prevalence study for Ireland is only underway, the National Autistic Society in the UK says the condition now affects 1 in 110 children there.

The aim of Irish Autism Action is to raise the quality of life of individuals and their families affected by autism, through ensuring the provision of the highest standards in education, care, support, employment and equality of living opportunities, in partnership with families.

See www.autismireland.ie for more information and please support Blue Nose Month for Irish Autism Action