A CLARE man who lives in Westbury Residential Centre has organised coffee mornings for Milford Hospice in recognition of the great care they provided to his late parents.
Up to 100 family members and friends of Fergal Enright (39) from O’Briensbridge, attended a coffee morning in the residential centre where he lives and another one in his workplace at the Tait Business Centre in Limerick. The coffee mornings raised €1,339 for Milford Hospice.
In an interview with the Clare Champion, Fergal said Milford Hospice is very close to his heart because of the treatment staff provided when they cared for his late father, Noel Senior and his amazing mother, Eithne.
“My parents got great care in Milford Hospice. I was more than delighted with the support I got for the coffee mornings. If people have any spare money, I would ask them to make a donation to Milford.
“I attend the Tait Business Centre three days a week and do different things there. I am currently doing some weaving to make a scarf. I look forward to going to the Tait Centre.”
While Fergal admits having Epilepsy and other health issues is frustrating at times, he is always keen to make the best out of things in life.
About 20 years ago, he participated in the Special Olympics playing mini golf in Belfast, where he was cheered on by his parents, and continued playing for a number of years.
When his balance deteriorated, he took up playing boccia instead. A passionate card player, he loves playing switch with his Polish care worker, Agnes Kalinowska after his aunt, Catherine taught him how to play.
A keen baker, he likes to make his own bread, cakes, jam and made his first cheesecake for the coffee morning recently. To relax, he listens to country and wester star Nathan Carter and The High Kings.
A proud Clare man, Fergal has a Clare flag draped around his chair in the Westbury residential centre where he enjoys living with other clients.
In fact, his brother, Noel Junior, jokes Fergal’s language is “very colourful” any time he is watching Clare hurlers in action.
Fergal’s family life was disrupted when his father, Noel was diagnosed with cancer and at a later stage also his mother Eithne received her cancer diagnosis but through the intervention of science and medicine his parents recovered well to their accustomed lifestyles.
In 2012, his father suffered a second bout of cancer and was hospitalised in Beaumont Hospital Dublin for almost 12 months.
Following his return to Clare, Noel recalled his father got great care in St Joseph’s Hospital, Ennis.
When he briefly returned home to his family – Fergal was very much aware of the wonderful palliative care his Dad received from the nurses and teams from Milford Hospice and the support they provided to his mother, his brother and himself until their dad (70) passed peacefully in January 2013.
The lives of Fergal and his brother, Noel, Junior were shattered again when they were forced to deal and cope with further heartache, pain and loss after cancer returned to their mother, Eithne in late 2018.
This time Milford Hospice became their second home intermittently until Eithne (71) passed peacefully in August 2019 in the company of her adored sons and family and friends.
Until Eithne’s dependency on Hospice care, Fergal lived with his mother in the family home in Ardnatagle, where they supported each other’s needs.
A home that was always inviting, warm and welcoming despite life’s storms that visited the family repeatedly.
A tranquil haven that Fergal and his brother Noel hold fondly in their hearts for the comfort and wonderful support provided for their parents at the end of their lives.
In 2019, Fergal then moved to his home away from home under the umbrella of Ard Ri – residential accommodation firstly in Cashel, Co Tipperary and is now presently in their designated centre in full residential care in Westbury, providing an amazing safe and stress free environment and “family lifestyle” supported by the expertise and care of skilled people.
At two and a half years old, Fergal developed health issues that presented huge concerns and anxieties for his parents.
Following many thorough medical investigations, Fergal was diagnosed with severe Epilepsy and seizures.
For his family, like so many families who have to cope with the shocking realisation and news of any child’s unexpected life threatening diagnosis, it was life changing and disruptive for them.
What followed then was the beginning of many sacrifices for his parents and brother Noel Junior.
As a toddler and small child, Fergal was hospitalised many times, monitored and trialled on various medications, treated and stabilised.
His parents and family accompanied him to hospitals in Limerick, Cork, Dublin and England. It was a constant battle meeting deadlines, never ending appointments with doctors, consultants and medical personnel.
Throughout these challenging years they were supported by their long term friends, extended families and wonderful neighbours.
When Fergal’s health improved and his Epilepsy was medically managed and under control he was able to attend St. Vincent’s Special School in Lisnagry daily.
The Daughters of Charity in this facility catered for many varying general Learning Disabilities for children between the ages of four to 18 years.
He loved his new routine, school activities and inclusion with his peers and teachers. He loved the social aspect of being there and independently going and coming from school on the bus.
He later then went on to the adjoining Training Centre in Lisnagry and was very hands on and enjoyed the workshop training and additional skills and services provided.
At this stage, he was also introduced to respite in Annacotty, two nights monthly away from home, which he thoroughly enjoyed particularly the social gatherings and outings it provided.
During his years in Lisnagry, his Dad, Noel was a valued member on committees and management and assisted within numerous fundraising events.
From Lisnagry, Fergal graduated to adult services in his catchment area.
He spent many happy and fulfilled years in the Training Centre in Dooradoyle. He very soon developed an exceptional interest and command of Assistive Technology through IT classes so much so his iPad was a constant companion.
Fergal’s next steps and progression were to the Tait Business Centre, an occupational service for adults, in Dominic Street, Limerick where he is currently attending three days a week.
All these centres and facilities have provided Fergal with the necessary skills and social integration to live an individual and independent life under supervision and guidance.