Fourteen dedicated local volunteers were honoured at a special ceremony in The Mansion House in Dublin for their outstanding contribution to hospice care in Ireland.
RTE’s Mary Kennedy made a special presentation to local “Sunflower Heroes” who give tirelessly of their time to bring vital hospice services to communities all over the country.
Ms Kennedy also announced details of national Hospice Sunflower Days, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and takes place on Friday, June 5th and Saturday, June 6th. This is one of the biggest annual fundraisers for the hospice movement in Ireland and it is hoped that €1 million will be raised. The event is coordinated on behalf of the hospice movement by the Irish Hospice Foundation and all of the funds raised locally, stay locally.
People are being encouraged to support their local hospice service on June 5th and 6th by purchasing various pieces of Sunflower merchandise – including sunflower pins for €2 each from collectors on the streets of cities, towns and villages across Ireland.
Amongst the “Sunflower Heroes” honoured today were:
- Mother and daughter, Debby and Chloe MacNamara, both volunteers with Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services in Dublin. Debby got involved in the hospice in 2009 after her husband Gerry died in the Extended Care Unit of Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross. Debby is also a keen gardener and helped Our Lady’s Hospice bring a new garden to the Bloom Festival. She also helps maintain the garden of the hospice itself.
- Nora Gahan, St Francis Hospice volunteer, who was nominated for her dedication to raising funds for the St Francis Hospice since 1989. Nora began working with the hospice as she wanted to help in her local community. Her sister also passed away under hospice care and Nora continued her fundraising efforts in her memory.
- Poet and artist Olive Murray-Power, a longstanding supporter of Wicklow Hospice Foundation, who has used her talents to create a book of her paintings and poems, with all proceeds in aid of her local hospice. Olive’s first husband Martin passed away from cancer so hospice is a cause very close to her heart.
A recent national survey commissioned by the Irish Hospice Foundation revealed that 75 per cent of Irish people want to die at home – however only 25 per cent will get to do so partly due to lack of services.
Launching Hospice Sunflower Days Mary Kennedy commented: “There is probably not a family in Ireland that has not been touched by the amazing work carried out by hospice services across the country. The care and support afforded to families in need, at a very difficult time, is so important and I am encouraging members of the public to show their support for Sunflower Days once again this year. By simply buying a pin you are helping to bring comfort and dignity to people at the end-of-life.”
She added: “It is so inspiring to meet the “Sunflower Heroes” and the dedicated volunteers from all over the country who do so much to secure hospice services locally. Without them there are many patients and their families whose end of life would be so much harder. They are all heroes in the true sense and need to be acknowledged. I am honoured to be here with them today.”
Pat Quinlan, Chief Executive Officer of Milford Care Centre and Chair of the Voluntary Hospices Group, commented: “Across the country, the number of people seeking hospice care services continues to increase at a time when funding resources, both public and voluntary, have become more scarce. We are more reliant than ever on the generosity and goodwill of our supporters and volunteers.”
“We appeal to people to support their local service so patients and families can get help at a time of greatest need. Sunflower Days is a vital source of funding for local hospice services so please donate on June 5th & 6th and if you have a few hours to spare please consider volunteering.”
Hospice or palliative care involves the total care of patients and their families at the stage in a serious illness, where the focus has switched from treatment aimed at cure to ensuring quality of life. About 29,000 people die annually in Ireland and over 6,000 people use hospice services every year.
For more information and to volunteer with your local hospice service for Hospice Sunflower Days visit www.sunflowerdays.ie
For more information, please contact:
Mary Ellen Breen on Maryellen.firstname.lastname@example.org or 083 4257674.
Tags: heroes, Hospice, Sunflower Days, volunteers