Deirdre Kenny confirmed as Roscommon Netwatch Family Carer of the Year

‘Deirdre has shown superhuman strength’

Family Carers Ireland, the national charity supporting Ireland’s family carers, is delighted to announce that this year’s Netwatch Roscommon Family Carer of the Year is Deirdre Kenny from Cuilleen, Creagh, Co. Roscommon.

Deirdre cares for her son Aidan (3) who was diagnosed last January with a very rare, genetic disorder called Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD). In the space of just six months, Aidan went from being a perfectly healthy, happy boy to being fully paralysed, unable to eat, swallow or speak, and requiring 24/7 care.

Deirdre’s husband Sean said his wife has shown superhuman strength in caring for Aidan while also minding their youngest son Darren (1). She has never let Aidan’s illness define him. Aidan’s illness is very complex and changes very often – involving many life-or-death situations – all of which Deirdre manages every day while still filling their home with love and happiness.

The annual awards seek to recognise and shine a light on the remarkable contribution of Ireland’s forgotten frontline people who go the extra mile every day in caring for loved ones with additional needs. More than 500,000 people in Ireland provide unpaid care in the home for children or adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental ill-health, or addiction. The 19 million hours of unpaid care provided each week by family carers would cost the state €20 billion a year to replace.

Roscommon Carer Supports Manager Bernie Dowling said: “Now more than ever, family carers deserve to be recognised for their enormous contribution to our society. Their unyielding commitment to care for their loved ones at home, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, has been nothing short of remarkable and this sacrifice often comes at a cost to their physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing.

“These awards are about paying tribute to all of Ireland’s 500,000 family carers and shining a light on the immense work that they do, day in, day out, often with little or no help from the State”.