SOI Golisano Federation

Golisano Health Leadership Awards

25 Feb 2021
Health News

Special Olympics Ireland is delighted to present Tai Chi your way, Alan McCague and Cork City Libraries with the Golisano Health Leadership Award.

The Golisano Health Leadership Award is presented by Special Olympics International and the Golisano Foundation and is awarded nationally to outstanding individuals and organisations dedicated to improving the health of people with intellectual disabilities and advancing the health of Special Olympics athletes.

“All recipients of the Health Leadership Award are champions for people with intellectual disability in their communities. Their work, commitment and passion goes beyond their volunteer role with Special Olympics Ireland and they really implement the ethos behind creating and supporting Healthy Communities and athletes at local level.”

Cáit Donnelly Health & Wellbeing Coordinator Special Olympics Ireland.

The Health Leadership Awards give Special Olympics Ireland the opportunity to acknowledge the great health work that is taking place throughout the island of Ireland at a local community level.

"The Golisano Health Leadership Awards are a fantastic opportunity for us, to highlight the important work of our volunteers and partners who support Special Olympics Ireland’s Health & Wellbeing programmes. These programmes play a vital role in addressing the health disparities our athletes face. Thank you for your part in supporting our athletes to be successful in their sport, their communities and in life."

Matt English CEO Special Olympics Ireland.

mcCague award

Alan McCague

Alan McCague has been a health leader with Special Olympics Ireland since 2003 when he took on the role of Clinical Director for Fit Feet (podiatry). Alan played a key role in the 2003 World Summer Games and he continues to lead the Fit Feet programme in Ireland since then at an all-island level. Alan is also the Fit Feet Regional Clinical Advisor for the Special Olympics Europe Eurasia Region and delivers training to new Fit Feet Clinical Directors to ensure the sustainability of the programme. Most recently he led training and mentoring the new Clinical Directors for Special Olympics Sweden and Ireland.

“I am honoured to be a recipient of such a prestigious award from the Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics.  Having been involved since 2003 World Games in Ireland I hope I have made a positive impression of podiatry in terms of awareness, treatment & advice for athletes. I have met and continue to cherish beautiful friendships made during numerous Games events globally and tip my hat to all the organisers and managers involved.  Special recognition to all the coaches and enthusiastic parents dedicated to supporting all the benefits of participating in sport.”

Alan Mc Cague

Tai Chi Your Way accept award

Tai Chi your way

Special Olympics Ireland joined forces with Sinead Mc Cauley and Charles Thackaberry from Tai Chi your way nearly 5 years ago to support the delivery of the Strong Minds programme. Tai Chi your way provides athletes with opportunities to learn skills and tools to manage and understand their emotions and help reduce stress through the art of Tai Chi, Meditation and mindfulness. These skills help our athletes to deal better in stressful situations on and off the field of play and cope with everyday life. Athletes feel empowered.

Sinead and Charles played a key role in preparing Team Ireland athletes and management for the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi 2019. They continue to be involved in Healthy Athlete events and Athlete Leadership workshops.

"We would like to thank Special Olympics Ireland, Special Olympics International and the Golisano Foundation for this beautiful and prestigious award. We would like to thank Cáit Donnelly for the opportunity to work with and empower athletes with skills and practices for creating a healthy mind. Finally, we would like to thank the many athletes and students we have worked with throughout the years. Without you, this would not be possible. Your commitment and dedication to learn, to grow and to teach us, has provided us with the opportunity to develop better and more inclusive health practices for everyone we work with".

In gratitude, Sinéad & Charles, Tai Chi Your Way


Cork City Libraries

This award is to acknowledge Cork City Libraries' commitment to access and inclusion of not only Special Olympics Ireland athletes but also people with an intellectual disability or different learning needs in their community. The partnership between Special Olympics Ireland and Cork City Libraries saw the development of sensory books based on Healthy Ireland’s three pillars; Eat Well, Be Well, Think Well, which was supported by the Special Olympics Health Promotion Programme.

This project led by Cork City Libraries and created with Special Olympics athletes and Cork Textile Network brought the accessibility of health information to a new level. This project also allowed Special Olympics athletes to experience learning about health and wellbeing in a unique and creative way. The three sensory books (Eat Well, Be Well, Think Well) developed through this project are available to members of the community to take out on loan from Cork City Libraries.

“Our work in this area is an honour and a pleasure for all staff involved. We look forward to working with Special Olympics Ireland in the future to build on this work”

Breda Hasset Senior Executive Librarian Cork City Libraries