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Helen highlights the importance of hospice care

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Fulfilling her husband's dying wish led to a young widow's drive to highlight the importance of a hospice which cared for him in his final days.

Kerry Hospice Foundation staff made sure Derry (Jeremiah) O'Leary (44) got to see his favourite horse-racing festival with friends in the comfort of his own home, just weeks before he passed away.

Derry was so impressed with the care and treatment given to him that he asked his heartbroken wife Helen Mannix O’Leary to hold a fundraiser for the centre after his death.

The hugely popular resident of Muckross Road - and native of Inch, Kilcummin - lost his three year battle with lung cancer on April 11, 2020 - COVID-19 restrictions depriving many friends and relatives the chance to say their goodbyes at his funeral.

So Helen staged a coffee morning as a way to say thank you to the hospice for helping her husband keep his independence right up to the end.

She will be doing so again on Thursday, September 22 - and is also asking others to register to host a coffee morning as part of the Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice at www.hospicecoffeemorning.ie or by calling 0818 995 996.

The nationwide event, which has raised over €41.5 million since its inception, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

"We were engaged for 10 years and married for just seven when he died. He was sick for three years, but he put up a great fight," Helen said.

"He was a huge sports fan and a Liverpool supporter but he absolutely adored horse-racing. He went to the Cheltenham Festival each year and to many of the local meetings, where everyone knew him.

"Indeed, it was at the Galway Races that he proposed to me. Due to his illness, he couldn't go to Cheltenham in 2020 and ahead of it, on February 26, he got really sick and was taken to the hospice.

"He made the nursing team promise to have him back home in time to watch the racing on his own TV with friends and relatives."

Horse-racing kept him going through his illness but the hospice ensured his independence until the very end, with everything he needed to pass away at home, she explained.

Together for Hospice, The National Hospice Movement represents 26 hospice and specialist palliative home care providers supporting patients and their families nationwide.

Funds raised locally stay local and go back into each local hospice service, helping to pay for medical and general staff, palliative care beds, home care visits, specialist equipment and new hospice builds.

"COVID-19 restrictions only allowed immediate family to see him at the end and no-one was allowed to attend his funeral. I found this really hard because he was hugely popular in the parish and beyond,” added Helen.

"We were a young couple who didn't even think of sickness when this happened and all of a sudden, we were relying on people to get us through it and that's what the hospice staff did.

"I had to think about how I was going to continue paying the bills and the mortgage as well as other issues like getting a medical card.

"These are basic things that I never thought I'd have to know about and I didn't know the first place to begin looking for answers.

"The hospice staff were incredible. They had a dedicated person to guide me through every step. No question was silly to them and they just knew what to do to make things a little better at every turn.

Derry knew he wouldn't get to hold a fundraiser to say thank you for everything the hospice did and so he made me promise to hold one for them.

“A coffee morning felt like the right thing to do and it gave people who couldn't get to the funeral a chance to get together and remember him with laughter because he was such a character.

"No-one thinks about hospice care until it's needed but unfortunately our story could be anyone else's tomorrow."

Register to host a coffee morning on Thursday, September 22, or on a date that suits you, at: www.hospicecoffeemorning.ie or call-save 0818 995 996. Hosts are provided with a free Coffee Morning Pack containing Bewley’s coffee, posters and invitations.

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Corcoran’s Furniture walk raises €12k for autism charity

Corcoran’s Furniture and Carpets charity walk through the Gap of Dunloe on Saturday raised almost €12,000 for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland There were 37 participants in the event, which included […]

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Corcoran’s Furniture and Carpets charity walk through the Gap of Dunloe on Saturday raised almost €12,000 for Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland

There were 37 participants in the event, which included AADI families, dogs, and representatives, as well as fundraisers, supporters, and members of the Corcoran’s team. The stars of the day were the three life-changing super-hero dogs, Buzz, Baron and Hank.

Former Kerry Footballer, James O’ Donoghue, was the ambassador for the event
Those taking part left Ross Castle and were treated to a phenomenal boat ride in the expert hands of Diarmuid ‘Dux’ O’Donoghue of Gap of Dunloe Traditional Boat Tours. The O’Donoghue family entertained the entire group with a range of fascinating stories outlining the history of the lakes of Killarney and Killarney National Park.

The group set out from Lord Brandon’s Cottage and walked the 11K through the iconic Gap of Dunloe, with two AADI families and their dogs taking part in the full walk. This was followed by a well-deserved meal and some rest and relaxation at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Flemings Taxi’s Killarney brought the group back to Ross Castle, Killarney upon completion of the event.

“On behalf of everybody at Corcoran’s Furniture, we would like to thank everybody who participated in our Gap of Dunloe charity event on behalf of AADI,” said Shane O’ Callaghan, Financial Controller atCorcoran’s.

“Collectively we have raised almost €12,000 for this incredible charity and monies are still coming in. We are extremely grateful to all who supported our walk, and also to James O’ Donoghue, Christina Tagney, the Gap of Dunloe Traditional Boat Tours, the fantastic support of Noel Lucey and Donal McCarthy from the Order Of Malta, Killarney branch, and to Killarney National Park, Kate Kearney’s Cottage and Fleming’s Taxi’s. All funds raised will go toward the expert training and maintenance of the upcoming AADI dogs who will make a dramatic difference to so many children with Autism and their families.”

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Summer of song with Grace Foley

Killarney singer Grace Foley is launching a summer series of concerts in Anam House Arts and Cultural Centre on Saturday night. ‘Storyteller’ is a series of intimate, one woman performances […]

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Killarney singer Grace Foley is launching a summer series of concerts in Anam House Arts and Cultural Centre on Saturday night.

‘Storyteller’ is a series of intimate, one woman performances that will be given by Foley during the summer months.

The first of the performances takes place this Saturday 7pm and will feature the songs and stories of well-known singers including Dolly Parton, ABBA, and an array of Irish artists as well as a selection of poems and famous quotes.

“It promises to be a lovely evening,” she said. “This the first of three performances.”

Tickets are €10 and will be available on the night. The performance is approximately one hour long.

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