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“I have nowhere left to turn”: Killarney teacher launches GoFundMe following debilitating diagnosis

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By Michelle Crean

A Killarney teacher who has “exhausted” all treatments after being diagnosed with a debilitating illness has launched a fundraiser to help get expensive and vital treatment abroad.

Karin O’Shea (26), who had no option but to quit her teaching job in St Brendan’s College due to her illness, has experienced immense damage to immune and nervous system over the past 12 years.

In April last year, the Kilgarvan native was finally diagnosed with Lyme’s disease and needs to raise upwards of €45,000 for the expensive treatment in Germany.

Over the years she has suffered debilitating neurological symptoms which includes excruciating nerve pain, migraines, head pressure, short term memory loss, episodes of body paralyses and tremors, slurred speech, fainting, loss of balance, extreme exhaustion, insomnia and nausea.

“The disease has had a devastating effect on me. I know that this will be a shock for some people to hear about how serious this situation has become. However, this is now my reality. This is a diagnosis that has deeply affected every single aspect of my life. My Lyme disease went undiagnosed for 12 years. I was given the label of Fibromyalgia and I managed these symptoms. Life was normal.”

DETERIORATION

In October 2020, Karin experienced a severe deterioration in health.

After visits to countless consultants, undergoing X-Rays, scans, MRIs, and hospital admissions, she says she still had no answers.

Her bloods were then sent to Germany to test for Lyme’s disease and the results came back positive, and also showed chronic immune suppression.

She attended appointments with Dr Lambert an Infectious Disease Specialist in the Mater Hospital, Dublin, and was put on antibiotics which she said is the only available treatment in Ireland for Lymes.

“I was on a treatment plan of up to five antibiotics a day for several months. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful due to late diagnosis. This treatment also came with severe side effects.“

She says that going to Germany is “the only option left” for her as she is “now mostly housebound”.

“The only option left for me now is to travel to St George’s Clinic in Germany for a month of intensive treatment, followed by a six month rehabilitation plan.”

So far, she said she has spent upwards of €6,000 on medical treatments which does not include travel, post-treatment care, and further appointments.

“My private health insurance nor the Cross Border Scheme can assist in any of the costs involved as Chronic Lyme disease is not recognised by the Irish State. I have nowhere left to turn. Any donation big or small is hugely appreciated.”

Karin’s GoFundMe: ‘Please help Karin get urgent treatment in Germany’ is set at €45,000 to cover all costs including travel and accommodation as well as the treatment. So far she has raised over €30,000 from 687 donations since her page was created less than a day ago.

DÁIL

Today (Wednesday), Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae, who is personal friends with Karin, highlighted her plight in the Dáil, calling for the need for early diagnosis and treatment for Lymes disease.

“I wish to highlight the plight of Karin O’Shea who is a personal friend of our family and is best friends of my own daughter Theresa. This girl has gone around here in this country undiagnosed with Lymes disease for more than 12 years. The problem is that the department here doesn’t recognise Lymes or won’t accept results of blood tests or diagnosis from Germany or other countries. Testing in Ireland is inaccurate, we have only one specialist in this country who can only offer antibiotics. Irish patients have no other option but to seek treatment abroad, which is not covered by the Cross Border or Treatment Abroad Scheme because GPs here are not allowed to sign off on it," he said.

"There is not enough education about Ticks in Ireland, many going around undiagnosed as not everyone comes out with bullseye rash. More must be done to educate people about other symptoms such as muscle pain, tiredness and headaches, as early diagnosis can make a huge difference in curing this terrible disease. This lovely girl’s whole life is in turmoil. She has had to give up her teaching job in St Brendan’s College in Killarney. The cost of four weeks treatment for her in Germany is €35,000 and she has to embark on a GoFundMe campaign to help her get this treatment.”

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Man released without charge in murder case

The man in his 50s arrested in connection with the discovery of a body of a woman in her 70s in unexplained circumstances in Ardshanavooley has been released without charge […]

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The man in his 50s arrested in connection with the discovery of a body of a woman in her 70s in unexplained circumstances in Ardshanavooley has been released without charge in relation to this matter.

Miriam Burns was found in her home on Monday afternoon after family and neighbours became concerned about her welfare.

A file is now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions and investigations are ongoing under the direction of a Senior Investigating Officer.

Gardaí are continuing to appeal to any persons who were in the Ardshanavooley area between 5pm on Friday and 1pm on Monday and observed any activity which drew their attention, to come forward.

Any road users who were travelling in the area at these times who may have camera footage (including dash-cam) are asked to make this footage available to Gardaí.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Killarney Garda Station on 064 6671160, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

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Plenty of music and entertainment to celebrate Kilcummin talent

The successes of the Kerry, Munster and All-Ireland Fleadh’s were celebrated with Kilcummin CCÉ members, their families and friends in the clubhouse in Kilcummin on Sunday night. The talent within […]

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The successes of the Kerry, Munster and All-Ireland Fleadh’s were celebrated with Kilcummin CCÉ members, their families and friends in the clubhouse in Kilcummin on Sunday night.

The talent within the branch was clearly evident with a packed trophies table. Indeed some of the successes over the last number of months were replayed in a relaxed, jovial atmosphere that meant that all attending had a great night’s entertainment.

“We had demonstrations of winning sets across all age groups and then we moved onto the musicians who pulled out all the stops to entertain the large crowd, packed into the clubhouse,” Derek O’Leary, Kilcummin CCÉ PRO, told the Killarney Advertiser.

John Moriarty, who has recently retired from his role of Supervisor with Kilcummin Rural Development was acknowledged with a presentation to reflect the outstanding work that he has done to enhance and grow Kilcummin Comhaltas over his 25 years in his role, he added.

“Much thanks and praise was also offered to Mary, Adrian and Conor Moriarty, all involved in the progression of dancing and music within the Kilcummin branch. The music and entertainment continued with Helen Kerins and Denis Crowley late into the night. We’re looking forward to next year already!”

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