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07 Dec 2021

Kildare mum named Family Carer of the Year

Kildare mum named Family Carer of the Year

Family Carers Ireland, the national charity supporting Ireland’s family carers, is delighted to announce that this year’s Netwatch Kildare Family Carer of the Year is Lourdes Sanchez from Kilshanroe, Enfield.

Lourdes is mother to three children including Conor (16) who has a rare genetic disorder, autism, a severe intellectual disability and is non-verbal. Her husband David, who nominated Lourdes, says his wife is a superhero in ensuring that Conor is not left behind and hidden from society and is the best advocate he has ever seen in fighting for their son’s education and a place in school.

David says his wife is the most caring, selfless woman he has ever met and has been looking after the entire family for the past year due to his own health issues. Lourdes also previously cared for her late father in their home and is described by her husband as their family’s rock – inspiring and empowering and the best role model his children could ever dream of.

The annual awards seek to recognise and shine a light on the remarkable contribution of Ireland’s forgotten frontline who go the extra mile every day in caring for loved ones with additional needs. More than 500,000 people in Ireland provide unpaid care in the home for children or adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental ill-health, or addiction. The 19 million hours of unpaid care provided each week by family carers would cost the state €20bn a year to replace.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for all of society but especially for family carers and those they care for who saw essential services and supports severely impacted. The blanket withdrawal of supports such as homecare, respite, personal assistance hours and residential care during lockdown forced many to care alone, around the clock. When Ireland shut down, family carers stepped up in support of their loved ones.

Kildare Wicklow Carer Supports Manager Avril O’Sullivan said: “Now more than ever, family carers deserve to be recognised for their enormous contribution to our society. Their unyielding commitment to care for their loved ones at home, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, has been nothing short of remarkable and this sacrifice often comes at a cost to their physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing. These awards are about paying tribute to all of Ireland's 500,000 family carers and shining a light on the immense work that they do, day in, day out, often with little or no help from the State. Their essential contribution to our national healthcare system needs to be properly acknowledged and supported.”

Colin Hayes, Netwatch Head of Business, Ireland & UK said: “This is our third year partnering with Family Carers Ireland, and yet again we are blown away by the level of sacrifice, care and commitment shown by each and every carer. It’s an honour to be part of this and hope that our involvement can help in even a small way to highlight this charity and support the needs of its members.” 

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