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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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Sam Maguire to feature at next week’s AugustFest

Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races […]

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Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races offering patrons great racing, history, socialising, entertainment and so much more at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse.

With lots of ticket levels and packages including food and beverage options to choose from, whether it is close to the action general admission tickets or silver service fine dining, there is something for everyone at Killarney Races. Live music, fashion, and fun for all the family complement the best of summer racing at the track this August.

Thursday and Friday are evening meetings and Saturday is an afternoon event with all race cards offering seven thrilling races for spectators to enjoy each day.

Thursday is Sam Maguire evening. And to mark Kerry’s recent success and Killarney Races bi-centenary celebration, Killarney Races are offering an amazing deal on the opening day of their three-day event. On Thursday August 18 patrons will enjoy admission, a racecard and a €5 free bet all for €20! The first race is approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. Come early, bring along your jersey and camera, it’s going to be a great evening.

Friday will see the new entrance officially open, as racing officials and elected representatives unlock the gate to the next 200 years at the popular Killarney track, first race at approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. With music on the lawn from Donal Lucey and from Tom Cats in the Jim Culloty bar after racing the après racing party is sure to be a ‘winner alright’!

Saturday is AYU Ladies Day and all about the glamour as fashionistas bring the curtain down on AugustFest in fine style. AYU is an Irish based and Irish owned cosmetics company set up by renowned make-up artist Suzie O’Neill. With over €1,500 in prizes for the most stylish ladies to dress up for, what’s not to love! Gates open from 12 noon with the first off at approximately 2pm.

“At AugustFest we will be celebrating a major milestone here at Killarney Races, 200 years of racing in Killarney which is amazing,” Killarney Racecourse Chairman, Gerard Coughlan said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all locals and visitors to Killarney to come along and be part of the 200 year celebrations and share in this historic moment with us as we officially open the gates on the next 200 years! It’s a rare opportunity to be able to say ‘I was there the day they celebrated the bi-centenary’ anywhere and what a great story to share with the grandchildren in years to come. On that note, we are looking forward to welcoming multiple generations of families during AugustFest, so make a plan and come along and join us for what will be a most remarkable festival at our beautiful boutique racecourse this August!”

The feature race on the opening day of AugustFest is the Vincent O’Brien Ruby Stakes (listed), the Kingdom Gold Cup Handicap of €50,000 and the Gain Advantage Race Series. On Friday, the day two feature is the Grade B Handicap Hurdle of €50,000 and the EBF Novice Hurdle, with four competitive chase races. The final day of the festival the feature is the Grade B Handicap Chase of €50,000.

Adult tickets are available from €20 and children under 14 go free ensuring a great day out for all the family. For those who love a deal, the “Punter’s Pack” is a great value-added option and if you want to live it up check out the Maurice O’Donoghue Suite and Panoramic Restaurant options.

For all ticket details and festival programme information visit killarneyraces.com.

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Jessie Buckley’s album shortlisted for prestigious award

Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is […]

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Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year.

Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is one of 12 albums shortlisted for the prestigious award which will be revealed in London on September 8.

“Neither of us really knew each other and it was actually a blessing in disguise because we met each other in the moment and trusted each other, took a leap of faith and in a way come in just the way we were and not because of who we are,” she told a press conference at the awards announcement in London last week.

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