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“There are no words to say how thankful I am”

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Over €60k raised in 24 hours for Karin's vital treatment

By Michelle Crean

A Killarney teacher who launched a fundraiser for vital treatment for a debilitating illness says she is "grateful" and "overwhelmed" after it reached over €60k in just 24 hours.

Karin O’Shea (26) said she had “exhausted” all treatments in Ireland and has no option but to get expensive treatment abroad for Lymes disease.

The Kilgarvan native, who had to quit her teaching job in St Brendan’s College due to her illness, thought it might take months to raise just half of the €45,000 amount needed to pay for treatment, flights and accommodation, but is now looking at heading to Germany next month thanks to people's generosity.

Karin has experienced immense damage to her immune and nervous system over the past 12 years including debilitating neurological symptoms, 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.

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

Her bloods were eventually 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.

On her fundraising page she explained that her private health insurance and the Cross Border Scheme could not assist in any of the costs involved as Chronic Lyme disease is not recognised by the Irish State. She said she had "nowhere left to turn" and that "any donation big or small is hugely appreciated".

Now however, the after smashing her initial target, she says that she is hoping to go abroad in a few weeks to begin her treatment.

"I thought it would take months to raise the money," Karin told the Killarney Advertiser. "That was the reality of it, but the financial burden has been taken off me. How is this even real? I didn't sleep looking at the page. I couldn't believe it. There are no words to say how thankful I am."

There's a three week waiting list for the treatment, and safe in the knowledge that the funding is there Karin says she contacted the medical team in Germany to book in.

"I'm waiting for them to get back to me to confirm my treatment. There's about a three week waiting list for it so I'm hoping to go in March."

The main treatment takes four weeks and includes bringing the body into a hypothermic state, she explained.

Then it's six months rehabilitation.

"They induce a fever in ICU. Once the body reaches 42 degrees it kills the Lyme bacteria. There's blood filtering as well as a detox. It's the most intensive treatment in the world as far as I know."

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

Karin, who is also very thankful for the support of her partner AJ Christian and close family and friends, hopes to be back teaching once fully recovered.

To donate go to Karin’s GoFundMe: ‘Please help Karin get urgent treatment in Germany’.

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Top 10 Essential tips for Leaving Cert Students in lead up to June 5

The final weekend leading up to the Leaving Cert exams can be very tough, as you try to balance last minute revision with much needed rest after a long, exhausting […]

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The final weekend leading up to the Leaving Cert exams can be very tough, as you try to balance last minute revision with much needed rest after a long, exhausting year.

The natural anxiety felt by students is often heightened by the annual media hype around the state exams and it is really important that you do your best to manage that stress effectively, so that you are ready to perform to the best of your ability once the exams start. The following tips may help to keep you focused and a little calmer in the lead up to June 5.

1. Review, don’t cram – Focus on summary notes, flashcards, or mind maps. This reinforces what you’ve already studied. Prioritise areas where you feel less confident, but don’t try to learn new material.

2. Practise past papers – Review marking schemes and time allocation for each question you will need to answer on each paper. Practise a sample of questions against the clock. This will maximise your scoring potential.

3. Organise your materials – Check the exam timetable and highlight your own exams. Prepare the stationary that you need, gather pens, pencils, calculators, and so on. Pack your bag the night before to avoid last-minute stress.

4. Maintain a healthy balance – Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night. Proper rest is crucial for memory, concentration and stamina. Eat well, include proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs in your meals to maintain energy levels. Drink plenty of water, hydration is essential.

5. Try to manage stress – Schedule short breaks during study sessions and do something enjoyable and relaxing, like a short walk, playing or listening to music. Get fresh air and some light exercise. Use relaxation techniques like breathing exercise, mindfulness and meditation.

6. Focus on a positive mindset – Focus on your strengths and remind yourself of your preparation. Concentrate on what you know and not on what you think you don’t! Try to avoid negative self-talk and steer clear of discussions that heighten anxiety, such as comparing how much you’ve studied with friends.

7. Plan your weekend – Create a realistic timetable for the weekend, balancing study sessions with breaks and relaxation and don’t overdo the study. You need plenty of energy for the exams.

8. Stay connected – Talk to friends and family, if you are feeling overwhelmed reach out and get support from loved ones. If it’s helpful, have a short, focused study session with friends to clarify doubts.

9. Keep things in perspective – The Leaving Cert is important but won’t define you and regardless of what happens you have several options open to you. Try to reframe the media hype as the whole country getting behind you, for what they know to be a tough time for you.

10. Get Set for exam day – Double-check the venue, seating arrangements, and required materials for the day of the exam. On the evening before the exam, do a light review of key concepts but avoid heavy studying. Ensure you know how to get to the exam venue and plan to arrive early (at least 30 mins on the first day). Decide what you’ll wear to avoid rushing in the morning and have your water and snacks ready to go.

Above all else, give the exams your best shot! Once they are over you have a lovely ‘study-free’ summer and bright future to look forward to. Go n-éirí libh ar fad, the very best of luck to each and every one of you!

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Disability toilets for Killarney Library

Works to build new toilet facilities for people with disabilities should commence later this year. Cllr Marie Moloney tabled a motion at a recent Kerry County Council meeting. She said: […]

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Works to build new toilet facilities for people with disabilities should commence later this year.

Cllr Marie Moloney tabled a motion at a recent Kerry County Council meeting.
She said: “Application has been made for funding to the Department. As soon as the funding is approved, work will commence on the provision of Disabled Toilet Facilities.
“While ramps are installed for accessibility, it is unacceptable that any public building be without disabled toilet facilities in this day and age.
“I am aware of several people with a disability who constantly use the services of the Library and are very happy with the staff and the services that Killarney Library offers but are disappointed at the lack of disabled toilets.”
“I will be keeping the pressure on to have these facilities provided as soon as possible.”

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