Working life: Mary Rose O’Driscoll, youth respite worker, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland

My 14-month-old, Daniel, ensures an early start. I also have a little girl, Sophie, aged four, so in a household with two working parents, it’s a battle to get out.


I drop the kids to the childminder. I usually head to the Muscular Dystrophy Ireland (MDI) office on Model Farm Road first to check emails, make phone calls and plan the coming weeks.

However, this morning, I’m on the road to Limerick to collect two members with muscular dystrophy (MD), a condition marked by progressive muscle-weakening.


The two girls are wheelchair users and members of MDI. The girls are in great form, they’ve had their hair done for the day out in Limerick city where we have arranged to meet up with other kids with MD and their youth workers.

The youth club is a day out for the girls providing peer support, personal development, social interaction and most importantly fun. I support the girls throughout the day with whatever needs they may have.


We stop along the way for a break. I have a driver today, so I nip into the back of the van and make sure the girls are sorted before setting off again.


We meet kids with MD from around the country and have lunch in a little coffee shop in Limerick before heading to a Claire’s Accessories party where the girls have fun trying out make-up and jewellery and other bits and bobs.

It’s a great way for them to meet kids with the same disability and it’s an opportunity to start building support networks for their teen years and beyond.


Once the party is over we head for a quick visit to the Central Remedial Clinic outside Limerick. After that, we have a sing-song and a chat before setting off again.


I drop the girls home. Days like these give parents a much-needed break and at the same time encourage the independence of the girls. 

Seeing the girls have so much fun and not thinking about their disability for a few hours is priceless and makes my job worthwhile.

I then head for Cork and my own kids.

When I have time, I like to go for a run. I am currently training for the Cork half-marathon.

* Mary Rose O’Driscoll is a youth respite worker with Muscular Dystrophy Ireland


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