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Helga Himmelsbach. Photograph by John Kelly

Local campaign to help widow of road traffic collision

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Over the past 48 hours, almost €5,000 has been raised locally to help support North Clare woman, Helga Himmelsbach.
Helga, whose husband Jerry O’Connor lost his life in a road traffic collision outside of Ballyvaughan last year, has been struggling to come to terms with his loss in recent months while also attempting to continue her life in North Clare.
On top of her grief, she has just found out that she needs a new roof on the house she and Jerry shared together.
In more normal times, Jerry would have done much of the work to repair the roof himself, and Helga is struggling to fund this enormous and unexpected bill.
A number of her friends have come together to set up a GoFundMe page to support the necessary repairs to the roof.
The campaign has got off to a great start with a large number of people pledging money to help with the repair works.
Ms Himmelsbach, along with the families of victims of other car crashes in Clare, came together late last year to seek more supports for those left behind after tragic incidents on the road.
Speaking to The Clare Champion at the time, she said that a state agency to assist the families of victims could be beneficial.
“My feelings and my place in this is not taken into account at all. Absolutely not. I was given a load of leaflets [when Jerry died], but I couldn’t see anything about support in any of those leaflets,” she said.
“The only support that there seems to be is a weekly zoom meeting with other people who have lost relatives to road traffic accidents. That’s all there seems to be.
“Just imagine you had broken your leg. Imagine if they only support you received is that, once a week, you can talk to other people who have broken their leg. Would that help you heal?
“I feel that after an accident, the family needs to be offered psychotherapy that they don’t have to pay for. I can’t afford that, many people in my situation won’t be able to afford that. This is putting tremendous strain on me.”
On the morning of July 27, 2023 Jerry O’Connor lost his life in a collision while riding his motorbike close to his home in Ballyvaughan.
He was a highly respected member of the local community and ran the Burren Wellness Centre with Jerry for some 30 years.
For more information about the campaign, including instructions on how to donate to support the repairs, search for ‘Helping Helga to Replace her Roof’ on gofundme.com.

Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a journalist, writer and podcaster based in the west of Ireland.

About Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a journalist, writer and podcaster based in the west of Ireland.

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