Girl, 11, among 30 people honoured at National Carer of the Year Awards

Girl, 11, among 30 people honoured at National Carer of the Year Awards
11-year-old Hailey Golden getting her award this morning.

An 11-year-old girl is among 30 people being honoured for caring for family members.

A carer from each county, along with four young people, are being recognised for their commitment and sacrifice at the National Carer of the Year Awards.

There are 355,000 family carers in Ireland.

Broadcasters and patrons of Family Carers Ireland Marty Whelan and Mary Kennedy presented Marcin Filak from Kildalkey, Co. Meath, with the overall Netwatch Carer of the Year Award.

Marcin cares for his wife Ola, who suffers from locked-in syndrome, and their two children, the eldest of whom Piotr (aged 13) has autism.

Ola suffered a catastrophic brain stem stroke three weeks after the birth of the couple’s daughter Anastasia (aged 2), resulting in locked-in syndrome.

Her condition means she is aware of her surroundings but cannot move or speak and now communicates through eye movements. The couple are originally from Poland but moved to Ireland in 2016.

Throughout Ola's 18 months in hospital, Marcin was by her side every day and always maintained that he would make her dream to come home a reality. He quit his job as a farm equipment engineer and undertook extensive training in order to be able meet his wife’s care needs at home.

Ola and the St Pats team from the National Rehabilitation Hospital nominated Marcin to say thank you for the extraordinary care he provides for his family.

One young carer from each province was also recognised for the care they give to a family member.

11-year-old Hailey Golden from Co. Mayo, looks after her three younger brothers who have special needs.

Hailey said: "I would have been two or three when Conor was born and I didn't know anything was wrong with him until I was around five and that's when I started to help out, because my Mam and Dad would be under a lot of stress.

"So I'd be there helping them and if they wanted a break I'd fill in helping him get fed and helping him get dressed."

    The 2019 Netwatch Young Carers of the Year:

  • Munster: Lily Power (18) from Co. Cork who has been caring from a very young age for her mum who has Parkinson’s.
  • Ulster: Áine Grant (20) from Co. Donegal who cares for her mum Nuala who was diagnosed with early onset dementia two years ago.
  • Leinster: Matthew McCartin (17) from Co. Wexford who has been caring for his dad since he was five years old. His Dad now has advanced Parkinson’s Disease with dementia and is wheelchair bound.
  • Connacht: Hailey Golden (11) from Co. Mayo who has three brothers with special needs. She has learned ‘Lámh’ and Picture Exchange Communication and helps to feed and dress them and to use their speech devices.

Almost two thirds of Ireland’s 355,000 family carers provide more than 100 hours of care per week.

Family Carers Ireland says one in 10 people provide care for a loved one, with that number set to increase to one in five by 2030.

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