At a ceremony in Dublin yesterday, the more selfless and iron-willed among us were honoured for taking on the challenges that would make lesser mortals wilt.
Among them was 79-year-old Jim Lawlor from Sligo, who received an award for looking after his wife who suffered a major stroke 24 years ago, and 93-year-old Ann Ennis from Co Wexford, mother to 11, three of whom predeceased her. Ann’s husband was diagnosed many years ago with Parkinsons Disease and for the last 25 years she had been integral to the running of the Oxfam shop in Wexford town where she is the longest serving volunteer. She won an overall hero award.
Six-year-old Ella Murphy O’Connor (Kerry), also received an award. Despite being born with Dwarfism and being dependent on a ventilator, she greets each day with a smile and gives 100% to the things she can do which include Zumba, basketball and cycling.
Other award winners included Healthcare Hero community pharmacist Val Keane, Horgan’s Pharmacy, Kanturk, Cork, who saved the life of a patient who went into anaphylactic shock after being stung by a wasp.
Declan Cahill (Cork) won a hard of hearing hero award. Despite being profoundly deaf in one ear and severely deaf in the other, he has reached grade 8 in piano. This summer Declan sat his Leaving Cert where his highest grade was an A2 in music. Declan was a finalist in the Munster Region Junior Dragons’ Den with his innovative product, “Hear Phones” – head phones designed for hearing aid users.
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, who opened the awards ceremony, said the Hidden Heroes silently faced huge challenges every day. “Not only do they cope with their challenges with courage and dignity but they make a real difference to their families, their workplaces, the sports field and their communities in the process,” she said.
Stephen Leddy, managing director of Hidden Hearing said they were “constantly in awe at how people overcome the difficulties they face not only when it comes to their hearing but right across the board”.