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O’Mara family give back to regional maternity unit

A BELVOIR family have shown their gratitude to the specialist medical team at University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) by fundraising in honour of their daughter Aoibheann.
Now nearly ten, Aoibheann is thriving, but faced a challenging start that required her to have neo-natal care at St Munchin’s.
“Almost a decade ago this coming October our daughter Aoibheann was born in St Munchin’s Maternity Hospital in Limerick,” outlined mum Orla O’Mara.
“Aoibheann needed neo-natal care and she spent four weeks getting first class medical care. As first time parents our emotions were very high.
It is incredible how you feel when you are faced with your new born baby needing neo-natal care. You place all your trust in the medical consultants, nurses and midwives and that is what we did. We were beyond fortunate that Aoibheann received such wonderful care from the devoted medical specialists.”
Thankfully, little Aoibheann was soon able to leave hospital, under the ongoing care of the paediatric team. “Following on from Aoibheann’s departure from neo-natal, we took our little girl home and we settled in well together, thank God,” Orla said. “Every day she grew stronger. Aoibheann was under the care of a paediatrician but the day we were told, ‘This is your final visit,’ was an amazing feeling. Another milestone reached.”
The hectic job of day-to-day parenting didn’t get in the way of the family’s determination to show its gratitude to the team at St Munchin’s.
“Brian and I had always said, “How could you ever show your gratitude to the hospital’s neo-natal unit or is that even possible to do so?””Orla explained.
A social enterprise called The Baby Market caught the couple’s eye. Designed as a one-stop shop for second hand baby goods, it is founded on the principles of sustainability and affordability for parents.
“We decided to fundraise through Baby Markets and car boot sales however it did take a number of years! But better late than never!,” Orla said.
“In conjunction with Baby Market Ireland, whose markets were held in hotels in Clare and Limerick, we sold pre-loved baby items we had ourselves and also those which were donated to us.”
The family are also very grateful to the people who generously gave their own items and who supported their sales.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the people that donated baby items, baby clothes, baby books, baby toys or who made purchases, monetary donations or made handcrafted gifts,” Orla said.
“We are thankful for your overwhelming generosity. We were very fortunate to enjoy the company of those customers and we say a big thank you as this day would not be possible without your generosity.”
Orla also expressed the family’s gratitude to everyone who supported them at home in caring for Aoibheann: “This would not be possible for us without the great love and support we received from our families, who looked after Aoibheann in our absence or helped to sell the items in our stall. Thank you so much. We are so proud that Aoibheann will be our treasurer in handing over €5,500 raised for the Neo-Natal Unit to its Co-ordinator Deirdre O’Connell.
We are extremely proud as a family to be able to give something back for the exceptional care and dedication we were shown. We hope that the money raised will help other families. We were told the money we donated “will touch a baby” it is heart-warming to know the money will go to where it needs be. It is our pleasure to donate to such a worthy cause.
“Thank God, ten years later we are celebrating Aoibheann who is a healthy and happy girl, we were blessed. Although it was a difficult time looking back Aoibheann is one shining example of hope.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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