Duo trek Ben Nevis for Autism NI

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A BALLYMONEY lady is living proof that mothers really will ‘climb any mountain’ for their children.

Briony Logan, alongside her best friend Trina McMullan, will trek Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, this Friday (August 17) to raise funds for a cause very close to her heart - Autism NI.

Briony’s five-year-old son Rory was diagnosed with the condition before his fourth birthday and without the support of the charity she ‘would have been lost’.

Briony explained: “Until you go through this yourself you don’t realise what an issue it is. People don’t know a lot about Autism, it’s a hidden disability and people tend to assume your child is just being badly behaved, or you’re a bad mother.

“When Rory was going through his diagnosis I had no idea about Autism. The day it dawned on me that it was much more than just problems with his speech, it was like a kick in the stomach.

“It usually takes 18 months to two years to get diagnosed, but I fought so hard and was so determined that I had Rory with his diagnosis and an educational statement within eight months.

“Rory now attends the Learning Unit in the Christie Memorial Primary School and is doing very well. However it was, and still is, the help I received from Autism NI that was brilliant. It was vital to Rory’s, and mine, well being and development. They pulled me from the depths of despair.”

Briony and Trina hope to reach the summit, 4,408ft above sea level, within eight to nine hours.

Briony continued: “I want to do this to raise vital funds for the charity. Trina is doing it because she’s my best friend and out of the goodness of her heart she is coming along with me. We have known each other four years and we work together in Mountsandel Surgery, Coleraine. We do a lot of things together and she was the first person I called when I decided to do this and she said yes straight away.

“We are a good team, I would be quite competitive and Trina would be more persistent, we keep each other encouraged and we rub well off each other.

“I always like to do things for the charity and it’s not just about the money, it’s also about the awareness.”

Last year Briony raised £600 by completing a five-mile walk at Stormont. However she and Trina hope to raise around £2,000 on their Ben Nevis climb.

Briony added: “I know it’s a lot in the current economic climate but when it’s so personal to you it makes you more determined.

“In the first month we raised £400 and that was without pushing. In June we also held a fund raising night at Ma Kelly’s in Ballymoney. The event was a huge success and we raised nearly £700. We would like to say special thanks to everyone who came and especially Ma Kelly’s who gave their function room and made a buffet free of charge.

“Although all the fund raising is taking up chunks of our time we have been flat out in training for the trek. Ironfist Studio in Ballymoney have kindly let us train for free of charge in preparation for the trek and Millsport Motorcycles Ballymoney are helping to fund the trekking gear that we need for Ben Nevis. It’s just amazing how generous the local community and businesses have been and I will forever be in their debt.

“The trek is not going to be easy however it’s not until something like Autism affects your family that you actually see what you can do when you put your mind to it.

“There will be a real sense of achievement when we make it to the top and we will always be able to say we did it - thanks to everyone’s help and support we’ll feel on top of the world.”

If you would like to donate to the girls trek you can give via www.justgiving.com/trina-mcmullan.