Luke (9) Lives Life With No Limits in the Pool | Enable Ireland

Personal Stories

Hear first-hand from parents and adults with experience of Enable Ireland services.

Luke (9) Lives Life With No Limits in the Pool

Smiling boy in colourful shirt holds medal

"When Luke was one year old he had to have his foot amputated. Since then he uses a prosthetic leg. At the time the questions that went that went through our heads were ‘would he ever walk?’ and ‘would he lead a normal life?’ You feel a panic about what the future would hold for him.

I love to swim and so I brought Luke to our local pool when he was four and that’s when we met Brid Browne, Luke’s swimming instructor who introduced us to the services and benefits of Enable Ireland.  I would never have known of the wonderful services they provide to children otherwise. When Luke first started swimming he didn’t like it at all and didn’t even want to put his face in the water. But Brid worked with him and he became confident in the water and learned to swim.

Enable Ireland literally has given him the belief that there are no limits. The confidence he has gotten from the swimming reaches into other aspects of life too 

I used to help him into the water once he took his prosthesis off. Then when he got older, around six, he became very conscious of his leg and taking his prosthesis off for swimming and what other children in the pool would think or say to him. He had surgeries to fuse bones in his leg and as a result of this he needed a walker and this gave him the confidence to get into the water on his own with the aid of the walker. His class in school also started swimming lessons and at first Luke was anxious about that but it turned out that he is a better swimmer than a lot of his peers! So when he is in the pool his prosthetic is irrelevant. Now he is not self-conscious at all about taking it off for swimming, sometimes even leaving it by the edge of the pool or making up stories as to what happened to him. Last year in Spain, he told one boy he was bitten by a shark!

Enable Ireland literally has given him the belief that there are no limits. The confidence he has gotten from the swimming reaches into other aspects of life too and he plays football, basketball and soccer.

Next Tuesday he will be heading off to Poland to represent Ireland in the International Halliwick Gala. Halliwick is a method of swim teaching developed to teach people with disabilities to become independent in water. He is one of six swimmers selected to represent Ireland and he is really excited about it.

As parents, we don’t push him but we don’t let him get away with things either! Really, he is just another nine-year-old kid, and every kid should be given the opportunity to be the best they can be. This is what swimming with Enable Ireland has done for Luke."

Leza O’Donoghue, mum to Luke O’Donoghue

Enable Ireland’s annual ‘Life With No Limits’ campaign takes place from 17 -22 September this year. The public can support Enable Ireland’s services for 7,500 children and adults with disabilities by purchasing Life With No Limit’s wrist bands, handy trolley disc or fluffy book markers from Enable Ireland charity shops, TK Maxx stores and volunteer sellers nationwide.  

Related Content

Support our Life With No Limits campaign