Coronavirus: Cork couple cancel wedding to fight epidemic

Coronavirus: Cork couple cancel wedding to fight epidemic
Kayleigh O'Keeffe and Seamus McNamara share a kiss outside the church in Blarney where they were due to get married yesterday

Instead of walking down the aisle, she reported for duty on the front line of Ireland’s fight against Covid-19.

Paediatric nurse Kayleigh O’Keeffe, 29, from Blarney in Cork, was due to marry her childhood sweetheart, Defence Forces member Seamus McNamara, also 29, in her local church yesterday.

But after the couple cancelled their wedding as the Covid-19 was escalating last weekend, Kayleigh reported for duty at Cork University Hospital (CUH) yesterday to ensure her sick patients get the medications they need.

The couple later shared a kiss outside the Church of the Immaculate Conception and raised a glass of bubbly.

Seamus, a member of the Corps of Engineers who is based at Collins Barracks in Cork, has also reported back for duty as the pandemic escalates.

They both expect the coming weeks to be very challenging but said they and their colleagues are ready.

Kayleigh said they agonised over cancelling the wedding but once they made the call, they knew it was the right decision.

“We knew last Sunday morning that it was getting serious, and we didn’t want to put our guests at risk, and once we’d made the decision, we knew it was the right call,” she said.

It’s been the weirdest week — certainly completely different to how we imagined it would be.

“So yesterday I decided to go to work to help.

“I work in the paediatric research lab at CUH, working on clinical trials for new drugs, and two of my colleagues have been carrying the load for the last week.

“Our patients depend on these drugs and, because of the coronavirus, a lot of them can’t get in, and so we’ve been working on how to get the drugs out to them and that was finalised yesterday.”

Coronavirus: Cork couple cancel wedding to fight epidemic

Kayleigh thanked all the service-providers who had been lined up for the wedding, for their understanding and kindness, and said she and Seamus spent last night enjoying a Chinese meal at home.

They will rest and relax over the weekend, while of course observing social isolation guidelines, before reporting for duty on Monday instead of heading off on honeymoon.

Kayleigh’s mother, Lynda, who also works in healthcare, said their families are very proud of them both.

“Everything just went sideways last weekend but all our family and friends, and everyone involved in the wedding — the church, the photographer, makeup, the band, the hotel, the florist — everyone was just so understanding,” said Lynda.

We’ve cried a hundred million tears over the last few days, but a wedding is only a wedding.

“Everyone has had something cancelled. They have arranged a new date and we are looking forward to that.

“The next few weeks are going to be tough for everyone in the country, but we will get through it.”

The couple have rescheduled the wedding for later on this year, and said they will focus on that in the coming weeks.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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