We are blown away by the generosity and overall success of the Gym Jam. We put many hours of preparation into this special event, and thanks to everyone who contributed on the night, it was a massive success. We exceeded our fundraising target by quite a lot, so Alan and the Irish Wheelchair Rugby Team are well on their way to Sydney! The money is actually still trickling in, but its well over €5000, which surpasses our initial €3000 target. We are organising a special presentation to Alan and the Irish Wheelchair Rugby Association this week.
To the DJ's, and artists, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for bringing your beautiful music and positive vibes to ACLAÍ, and Gym Jam. A special shout out to the 3CAG crew from KNEECAP and Signor Bari (Cairbre) who travelled from the very top of the country to be with us, and Arveene and Shamon from Bon Voyage who supported us from the very beginning and helped us bigtime to make the Gym Jam great. To the Cork artists, Ciara Stevie G , Lisa Oh Flynn, Darren Kelly, Geronimo Flex, County Vinyll….we are so lucky to have you guys in Cork to give us sweet sweet tunes, and thank you for being a part of this community effort.
To the local businesses, bands, and companies who provided so many great prizes for the raffle, thank you very much. It was so great to see the small businesses in Cork getting behind this great cause, and very special to see our small business community pulling together to help Alan and the Team.
On the drinks front, Loungeville Cider played an absolute blinder by supplying us with a unmerciful amount of eqsuisidly delicious cider that people could not get enough of. The Franciscan Well and heiniken also got behind the event, and provided plenty of lovely beverages, which added a lot to the night.
Another feature of the Gym Jam was the enormous raffle, that grew such legs that we had to do the draw on Facebook Live afterwards. Tom Winters Barbers, Takashi Miyazaki, Tony Wcc, Soho, Tequila Jacks, The Rocket Man, Ruairi Deane, Munster Rugby, Guapa, SOMA Coffee Company, Alchemy Coffee and Books, Cask, Greens Restaurant, Boojum, Edison, Hermitage Green, Talos all chipped in to make it happen, and a lot of money was raised due to the raffle. Everyone who contributed to the raffle did so gladly, and I think it is a mark of a great business, and a great community, when people are willing to get behind a local cause. Go raibh céad míle maith agaibh a chairde Gaeil.
Hazel Hutchinson and the amazing Sextant Bar, were with us every step of the way. From donating a big pile of wine to the event, hooking us up with glasses for the night, providing change so that we could keep on raising funds during the night, giving us ice to keep things cool, raising funds at the bar itself, serving a load of tired bodies an amazing brunch the day after the Gym Jam, and being all round legends. Go raibh maith agaibh. The new paint job on The Sextant is class by the way.
Rocketman (Simone Kelly, and Jack Crotty), deserve a special clap on the back. They supported the Gym Jam all the way with providing the structure for the Intoxification Station (not a bar) on the night, as well as raising an extra €500 themselves through sales of their bespoke Alan Bagel at Rocketman HQ. Class.
Eddie Kay, thanks for lending us the decks for the night. That instrument of beauty made majestic music all night long. The DJs on the night made it sing! We got our lights and smoke machine from D2K/Disco2000 who were a pleasure to deal with, and the sound system Billy McGale. Thanks lads. Sam Mc Nicholl brought a bit of Connolly's of Leap flare to the night with lights and projector, which added bigtime so go raibh maith agat a chara!
Aaron The Balloon Man, was as always all over it when we asked him to come and be a part of the Gym Jam. Magic tricks, balloon hats, jokes, and added greatly to the night. Hit him up if you ever need entertainment at a party for home, or at work. Absolute gent. Thank you Aaron.
A special shout out to the ACLAÍ staff who were available for any jobs that needed to be done to make this happen. From collecting things, cleaning things, building things, and being general legends, go raibh míle maith agaibh. Péitseog de Paor, Ailín Leggy, Baptiste Vergé, Adam Walsh.
I also need to mention the wonderful ACLAÍ members who were patient with us while we were organising the Gym Jam and running around the gym with a power drill and a hammer turning the gym into a party venue for the night. It was also great to see the members getting behind the Gym Jam by attending the party and chipping in with the sponsorship drive. A special shout out to Colleen Cailín Jones who has been a stellar supported of what we have been getting up to at ACLAÍ since she started training with us and bakes the most beautiful cup cakes I have ever seen for the night. We also had a great team working on the night, including Victoria Ní Stória on the sign making, Kamran on the bar, Stella on the raffle sales, and Paul Murphy on security.
Billy O Connell who has been giving massages for months to raise funds for the cause, and who also gave the DJs massages before their sets, has been an absolute rock of support for ACLAÍ, Alan, and me personally as well. There are many more jokes, laughs, stories, and supple muscles out there because of Billy's work, and I would like to especially take this moment to thank Billy for all that he does for us.
To the many people who came and attended the Gym Jam, you absolute legends. You made the night what it was. There were people from all over the world at the event, and people from all walks of life became friends. There was hardly a mobile phone in sight at the event, not an ounce of trouble or a single piece of equipment was moved or went missing. The neighbours of the gym were so impressed by the fact that the crowed was so respectful of the noise levels, lack of rubbish, and general love that was emanating from the crowd. Quite a few of people in attendance on the night stayed on with us to help the clean up operation, which was a massive boost for us. Carol-Ann Goold appeared out of nowhere and cleaned like a woman possessed, as did William G Bigglesworth and Peadar Gill (there was drink taken lads but the clean up was splendid).
When I first moved to Cork, I had the great fortune to become friends with Eddie Hennessy, who was on photography duty on the night, along with the exceptionally talented Peadar from Encircle Visions. Both the lads did a great job on the night as you can see from the photos below. They captured the magical atmosphere of the night, the positive vibes between old friends, and the forming of new friendships with their cameras and creative eyes. Go raibh céad míle maith agaibh a chairde.
To finish up this mammoth post, a quick note on the motivation behind the Gym Jam. Of course we held it to raise funds for the Irish Wheelchair Rugby team to help them travel to Sydney Australia to compete in the World Championships next week. We raised in excess of €5000, which is a great collective achievement. However, we could like to make it be known that we are disgusted at the powers that be for not supporting this group of exceptional humans to go and represent our country on a world stage in the first time that they have qualified for this competition. You had the opportunity to step up, and you turned your head away. The Gym Jam was a party, a mini festival, and a celebration. But it was also a protest. A protest against the stiff shirted beaurocrats who pose for photos when they think they will benefit from the publicity, yet are nowhere to be found when it is the turn of the people who need and deserve their support the most. We shouldn’t HAVE to hold fundraising parties for the Irish Wheelchair Rugby team, but the people who contributed to the Gym Jam in every and any way stepped up, and delivered.
On that note, to the Irish Wheelchair Rugby team who are leaving Ireland on Sunday to take part in the World Championships, we are extremely proud of you guys. You are an example to the rest of us, and we will be following you every step of the way. As the old saying goes, "Fág an Bealach ag Slóite na hbFiann", loosley translated as "Get out of the way, the Irish are coming through". Adh mór agus grá níos mó a chairde! Xxx Ainle
PS who's up for Gym Jam 2019?!