Irish 12 Year Old Who Did Leaving Cert Has Raised Over €50,000 For Autism Awareness
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Those of us unfortunate enough to have sat leaving cert maths will still get nightmares about the experience to this day. Doing it as an adult is daunting enough but 12-year-old Cara Darmody has done it six years early!
The autism activist and Tipperary schoolgirl sat the exam to raise awareness about the 20,000 people awaiting autism assessments in Ireland and has managed to raise over €50,000 in the process.
The attempt was inspired by her two younger brothers John and Neil, who are both autistic and non-verbal and yet were subject to a long wait for an assessment.
Cara spoke to Ciara Kelly on Newstalk Breakfast this morning saying she hoped to “raise awareness about the disgraceful autism and disability discrimination going on in Ireland and to get change in the world of autism and disability".
She added that by sitting the exam she would "raise awareness about the 18,000 special needs children who are left to rot on a HSE waiting list".
This is not the first exam Cara has completed ahead of her time. Last year, aged just 11, she sat the Junior Cert aged 11. This time around she spent a couple of hundreds of hours with her dad Mark studying for the test.
She admitted that the exam was “fair tough,” adding “Paper 1 was definitely the hardest paper in years, and paper 2 was also quite tough, although it was a little bit easier than paper 1.”
However, with her dad's help, the hard work and long hours of studying meant she was going into the exam hall well-prepared. She said “Obviously my dad's not a teacher, so we learn it together. We had a lot of fun doing it, we spent every day learning maths but it was a lot of hard work.”
Meanwhile, her campaigning work is only getting started. She told Newstalk Breakfast that the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has “agreed to a meeting in principle” about the delays in special needs assessment while she will meet President Michael D. Higgins as part of her campaign later this month.
She also used the opportunity to push her fundraising efforts which she said are “about helping people who can’t fight back.”
She told Ciara Kelly “If you have a few spare euros in the back of your car could you please donate to my fundraiser if you want to because every single cent and euro that goes to my fundraiser will go towards helping people who can’t fight for themselves.”
Cara has set up a GoFundMe which you can find and donate to by clicking here. The remarkable 12-year-old has captured the nation's imagination by taking on the daunting challenge all while campaigning for a vital issue.