Aimee Woods and her dad Sean Woods
Aimee Woods, the daughter of well-known local racing legend Sean Woods, recently did her dad proud both on and off the race track after she raised €11,050 at a fundraiser race she organised in Mondello Park on July 13 and 14.
The Dundalk-born social worker, who is a well-known Formula Vee driver in her own right and also works as an instructor at Mondello Park, decided to organise the ‘Fiestival’ event in order to raise funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association - a condition her father was diagnosed with in February 2019.
A photo taken in 1995 of Sean and Aimee following an interview with RTE after Sean placed second in a race
Aimee explained: “My dad received his diagnosis in February. I decided I wanted to raise money for The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association as they raise a lot of money to people living with Motor Neurone Disease.
“They raise a lot of funds for families who might need home help or home adaptations. They really support people on the ground, and don’t focus so much on the research side of things, which is what people living with the condition need.”
Through the event, which was based around the two hugely popular classes, Zetec and ST, Aimee also hoped to raise awareness about the rare and incurable condition which affects the nerves in the brain and spine and leaves suffers experiencing a progressive loss of function.
Ms Woods added: “People don’t know about Motor Neurone Disease until it hits their family. I wish I didn’t have to know about it. That’s why I wanted to raise awareness through this event.
“We also all displayed stickers with the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association logo on the cars in order to raise awareness.
And given the Louth family’s connection to the motor racing, it seemed an obvious choice for a fundraiser.
Aimee, who has been racing for ten years, and says her first outing as a two-week-old baby was to a racetrack, was also keen to gather support from her connections in the racing world and across businesses such as Shaky Bills Bar (in Russell’s Bar) in Dundalk.
Both Mondello Park and fellow racers were keen to help, following the MND diagnosis for long-time racer and team owner Sean Woods and so the idea came together to run a racing event.
Ms Woods added: “The racing community is brilliant - they provide ferocious support. And many of the local businesses in Dundalk donated to our auction which was the main source of the total – too many to mention but we are so grateful to all who supported us. We also had a BBQ to raise money and local businesses donated the ingredients for this.”
Mondello Park kindly agreed to donate all entry fees from the team race directly to the fund. In addition the jam-packed schedule of races on the day, there were also events for families including face painting, bouncy castles, a team "Fiesta Push" on the main straight at lunchtime on Sunday, and a BBQ and Auction hosted by circuit commentator Leo Nulty at the Paddock Bar on Saturday evening.
Amy added: “It was a great weekend. I led my whole race and dad led his until the end too. It’s a pity about the results, but it was brilliant overall!”
Following the successful event, the Irish Motor Neurone Association are encouraging people to get their family and friends on board and be part of something special by taking part in their own Walk While You Can 5K for MND.
Or if not, you can join them in the Phoenix Park on Saturday 14th September at 11 am for our 5k Walk While You Can. You can register online at www.imnda.ie