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Anna leads Polish Irish Organ Donation Week campaign

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NATIONAL CAMPAIGN: Killarney resident and Polish national Anna Pokojska is one of the faces of a new Polish/Irish campaign for Organ Donation Awareness Week. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

A Killarney resident who has had a new lease of life after getting the gift of a kidney is the face of the first ever Polish campaign for Organ Donation Awareness Week. Anna Pokojska is the only Polish person taking part in the national campaign to reach out to the large Polish community across Ireland.

She had her life transformed in 2017 after undergoing a kidney transplant. And now, as a way of giving something back, she decided to take part in the Polish/Irish campaign which takes place from tomorrow (March 27) to Saturday April 3.

Normally Anna helps the organisation by taking part in the annual street collection. However, as that is not able to go ahead this year the charity is instead opting for a digital campaign to get the message of the gift of life for others through organ donation with a poster campaign with Anna included as one of the faces in the Polish and Irish poster.

"I was diagnosed in 2013 aged 31 and it was a shock at first," Anna told the Killarney Advertiser yesterday (Thursday). "They told me I wouldn't need a transplant for years but I needed it sooner than that. It was progressive and I was on dialysis. I was very lucky that I didn't have to wait too long. I've a new lease of life since."

In 2019 Anna, who is married to Leszek and has a 16-year-old daughter named Daria, attended the World Transplant Games for the first time and competed in the 30-39 years categories in both the 30k Cycling Road Race and the 5k Mini-Marathon.

With such a change in lifestyle since, Anna is now appealing for people to let loved ones know their plans of donation when they pass on.

"It's really important to talk with loved ones about it. I was very lucky to get the gift of life and the chance to be more active for myself and for my family as I wasn't able to do many things. It's a good thing to have a donor card to help other people."

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Therapy dog begins first day of school

By Michelle Crean A four-month-old puppy is the latest addition to school life at one local secondary school and his homework is to help students and staff. On Wednesday, there was great excitement as therapy dog Zoomer joined the school community at St Brigid’s on New Road – the second post primary school in the county […]

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By Michelle Crean

A four-month-old puppy is the latest addition to school life at one local secondary school and his homework is to help students and staff.

On Wednesday, there was great excitement as therapy dog Zoomer joined the school community at St Brigid’s on New Road – the second post primary school in the county to welcome such a dog.

It’s part of the My Canine Companion (MCC) charity which has a number of therapy dogs in schools across the country.

Deirdre Horgan from MCC paid a visit to schools looking for families for the charity’s socialisation programme. ​​​​​​

Zoomer is a mix of a sheepdog and a poodle and Deirdre’s dog Fifi is his mother.

In May Fifi had 10 puppies all named with the letter ‘z’. Just recently Fossa National School welcomed Zoomer’s sister Zazu to their classrooms, and puppy Zoro went to the CBS in Tralee.

The dogs not only provide comfort and support to pupils and students with Autism but to all in the school.

“There is an increasing body of research to support the benefit of a dog in school,” Ber O’Connor, a teacher in St Brigid’s, said.

Zoomer will be under the guidance of Ms O’Connor and some Transition Year students who will undertake a specific training programme for the therapy dog.

“The dog will be based in different rooms around the school but will have a timetable of interactions. We hope Zoomer settles in well and brings joy to many of our students lives. You can follow all the updates of Zoomer’s life on Instagram by following @zoomersbk or his TikTok account ‘zoomerthepuppy’.

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Brian James secures much sought after award

A local business is celebrating receiving a very special accolade – beating off stiff competition from UK and Irish retailers – by taking home the title of ‘Menswear Independent of the Year 2021’. Brian James, whose business is located on Main Street, secured the award at the internationally acclaimed Drapers Independents Awards in London last […]

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A local business is celebrating receiving a very special accolade – beating off stiff competition from UK and Irish retailers – by taking home the title of ‘Menswear Independent of the Year 2021’.

Brian James, whose business is located on Main Street, secured the award at the internationally acclaimed Drapers Independents Awards in London last week.

The highly respected and sought after Drapers Awards celebrate the very best of independent fashion retail and Brian James saw off exceptionally tough competition from other menswear stores to bring home this much coveted award.

Brian James were announced the winners at a celebratory luncheon in The Hilton London Bankside amongst fashion industry leaders and were presented with the iconic Drapers mannequin bust to much applause.

Commenting that Brian James has been a destination for fashion-conscious shoppers for more than 15 years, the judges praised Brian James’ strong “roster of brands” and said that it “offers an aspirational experience in Killarney”.

“Killarney is an incredible town to trade in – it is a brand in itself, offers the best of everything to those that are lucky to live here and an unbeatable experience for those that visit,” Brian O’Shea, who founded and runs Brian James for the last 15 years, said. “This award recognises Brian James and Killarney as a superior shopping destination town. Brian James and the other superb retailers in Killarney are an important piece of the jigsaw – the Park, the lakes and mountains, the hotels, restaurants and bars… it is the whole picture which guarantees the experience is first class.”

He added that his team are a key element of the experience at Brian James.

“My sincere thanks go to each of the team as without them we could not provide the customer experience and service we aim to ensure each and every time. Brian James’ success is also down to the partnerships we have developed over time with key international brands. On the store itself, of course we have relocated to our new super store on Main Street and more than doubled our floor space. Although it has been great to be able to design and create this stunning space to enhance the customer experience, it also allowed us to add more brands to our menswear mix. This year we will have added Hugo Boss and Eden Park to our familiar brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Gant, Barbour, Bugatti and Farah. The new space also plays host to ladies collections from Tommy Jeans, Calvin Klein, Diesel and Superdry and this is an exciting new element we are really enjoying too!”

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