Michelle Cowan lives close to Enniskillen, Co.Fermanagh and is thirty one years old. At the age of fifteen she became ill with severe M.E. which left her bed-bound for twelve years. Even though Michelle's condition has improved over the past few years so that she can use her wheelchair, she is still totally dependent for help with all aspects of her daily living.
Roisin Henry, Disability Sport NI's Inclusive Sports & Leisure Officer for the Fermanagh District Council area came along with one of our volunteers to Drumcoo Day Centre in order to introduce those in the day centre to various sports suitable for people with a variety of disabilities.
Michelle took immediately to the sport of Boccia, which she is able to play with the aid of a chute. Every Monday evening, Michelle attends the Fermanagh Lakers Club at the Lakeland Forum in Enniskillen. Michelle is able to play and fully participate with the aid of her careworker.
Michelle says that Roisin, Marty Carney who is an Active Communites Coach with Fermanagh District Council and Joe Graham the volunteer who helps run the Fermanagh Lakers Club have made her always feel welcome and at ease at every Boccia session and she has been included in every game. Due to Michelle's poor vision, the guys explain the position of the Jack ball and help her use a chute to take her shot so that she can still take part.
I enjoy meeting people, going to Boccia has helped me gain confidence and although I am physically unable to play on my own, with help I can participate in sport and as a result I have developed a competitive streak. I have found a new circle of friends with a variety of disabilities and we all treat each other as mates. I enjoy the company, fun and laughter and feel that I belong to a group and I always look forward to the next Monday. Michelle Cowan.