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Three Carers In The Midlands Named 'Family Carers Of The Year'

They were given the title for their respective counties.

Three carers in the midlands have gotten the nod for 'Family Carer Of The Year' in their respective counties.

They were recognised at the Family Carers Ireland and Netwatch 2022 Family Carer of the Year Awards.

Athlone's Lisa Malone was given the nod for Westmeath.

Lisa cares for her son Conor (23) who has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a debilitating condition which affects the connective tissues of the body and causes complications including chronic pain, fatigue and hypermobility and dislocation of joints.

She was nominated by multiple family members and friends, including Conor who says that only for his mother’s care, he dreads to think where he would be today and that if anyone is deserving of an award, it’s his mum.

Conor, who was diagnosed with EDS just two years ago, has battled numerous other chronic conditions in recent years.

Alongside caring full-time for Conor, Lisa has fundraised tirelessly to get him the treatment he needs abroad, with her son undergoing spinal surgery in Spain in June of this year. She also cares for Conor’s two younger brothers who have additional needs.

Gemma Stone, from Luggacurran, was named 'Laois' Family Carer of the Year.'

Gemma cares for her grandfather Gerrard Stone who is in his 90s. During the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, she gave up her job as a social care worker to ensure her grandfather could return home from hospital.

Gemma has been caring for him ever since with the greatest kindness, love and dedication that anyone could ask for.

And Rhode woman Noeleen Murphy received the title in Offaly.

Noeleen cares for her son Ryan (22) who is severely autistic and non-verbal and requires two-to-one support due to behaviours that challenge.

She was nominated by husband Niall who says that his wife helps their son with everyday tasks such as washing, dressing and food preparation, supervises him throughout the day to keep him safe and like many family carers, acts as a speech therapist and OT as he requires extra sensory feedback.

He says that Ryan is an amazing young man with two beautiful, understanding sisters and a wonderful mother to support the whole family.

Family Carers Ireland Community Support Manager for Offaly and Laois, Beth Wogan, said:

"Caring for a loved one at home can be rewarding but it can also be challenging, particularly in the absence of vital supports and services including respite. This can take a toll on a person’s physical, mental, financial and social wellbeing. Often, a person can find themselves taking on the role of a family carer with little or no warning. These are mums, dads, sons, daughters, siblings, relatives, friends and colleagues who sometimes don’t even see themselves as family carers. They are doing extraordinary work that is too often unseen and undervalued.

These awards are an important event in our calendar every year as we seek to provide some small recognition to all of those who care at home for loved ones with additional needs and to ensure their stories are heard.

As a charity, we want family carers to know that they are not alone and that we are here to help them no matter where they find themselves on their caring journey. As a society, we must ensure that family carers are not only recognised for their immense contribution, but truly supported to care safely at home."



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