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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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Comedy drama ready for the stage

By Michelle Crean Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage. What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy […]

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By Michelle Crean

Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage.

What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy father and a confused visitor to the dentist, all have in common? You’ll have to come along to the Killarney Avenue Hotel on Monday, December 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 at 8pm to find out.

The popular drama group will present their three new comedies featuring the work of playwrights Brian Bowler, Ger Madden and Mary Quirke.Come along for a night filled with fun and laughter. Just the right beginning to the festive season. Doors open at 7.15pm and tickets are available at the door. All tickets; adults, seniors, students and children are €10. Don’t miss a great night out.

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Teens theory is a national winner

Watch out Dallas as three local students are ready to take their science theory and blow the competition out of the water. Liam Waldron, Rachel Griffin and Luke O’Sullivan, Sixth […]

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Watch out Dallas as three local students are ready to take their science theory and blow the competition out of the water.

Liam Waldron, Rachel Griffin and Luke O’Sullivan, Sixth Year students from Killarney Community College, were named SciFest STEM Champions 2022 for their Group Theoretic Approach to Pythagoras’ Theorem.

The national finals of SciFest Ireland were held at the Marino Conference Centre in Dublin last Friday and they were attended by finalists from across Ireland.

The amazing trio will now go on to represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (Regeneron ISEF) which will be held in Dallas, Texas in May 2023.

The students secured their place at the national final after they won the overall prize at the SciFest regional competition at MTU Kerry in May this year.

Their project takes possibly one of the most well-known theorems that everyone remembers from school, Pythagoras’ Theorem. It provides an alternate proof of it, while also highlighting how right-angled triangles naturally provide a link between two coordinate systems and how this special case can naturally recreate the Pythagorean Theorem.

Supported by Intel Ireland and Boston Scientific, SciFest was set up 17 years ago by Sheila Porter and her husband George.

It is the largest, most inclusive STEM fair programme for second-level students in Ireland.

“The aim of SciFest has always been to develop a love of STEM and of inquiry-based learning and every year it is refreshing to see how the students of today continue to love and enjoy immersing themselves in science, technology, engineering and maths,” Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said.

“As SciFest grows each year, we grow more excited to see what new experiments and technologies are thought of and created. This year, students have shown incredible innovation in how STEM can make a positive impact on society, with initiatives in farming, space exploration and healthcare.”

Each year SciFest awards a ‘Teacher of Excellence’ and this year Máire Spillane was the recipient for her work with Luke, Rachel and Liam. She accompanied them to both finals and could not be prouder of this huge achievement at national level.

Killarney Community College held a whole school assembly to congratulate the SciFest champions in school and the SciFest STEM Champions 2022 were met with rapturous applause from all students and staff.

Ms Spillane spoke about the importance of STEM subjects and acknowledged the fact that Killarney Community College offers all students the opportunity to study all four of the disciplines, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and how our students are encouraged to submit projects every year into SciFest. It may be a competition run by science teachers, but in KCC cross-curricular co-operation by teachers of all subjects, is practiced on a daily basis.

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