A Kilrush engineer said he will never forget the groundswell of support from friends of a former Rose of Tralee contestant who passed away last year.
Up to 60 Rose of Tralee escorts, contestants and friends of Adrienne Hussey crammed into the waiting room of Beaumont Hospital in Dublin at midnight on Wednesday, January 12, 2012.
Barry Prendeville said people came from all over the world when they heard about Adrienne’s critical condition. Unfortunately, their worst fears were realised when Adrienne, at just 26, died from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm that doctors believe may have been congenital. She was a social worker from Plano, Texas.
Like all her friends, Barry was devastated after her death and wanted to do something to remember her by. Having met Adrienne while she was competing as the Texan Rose of Tralee in August 2010, they struck up a great friendship.
At the time, Barry was the escort for the Luxembourg Rose and when Adrienne moved to Dublin in November 2011, she stayed in his house while she was searching for accommodation. In fact, he was due to meet her for lunch in the Radisson Hotel the day she collapsed and had to be rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital before she was transferred to Beaumont.
Following her death, Barry and other friends conducted some research into brain injury charities. He approached his former lecturer Professor Tim McGloughlin at the Centre for Applied Biomedical Engineering Research (CABER) in the University of Limerick to do something that would benefit research in the area of cerebral aneurysms (CA).
After a few meetings, the two parties agreed to set up a scholarship for research into CA in UL, which was launched on Sunday by Rozanna Purcell, Irish rugby legend David Wallace and a group of Rose of Tralee participants.
Barry, who is the son of Fianna Fáil Councillor Tom Prendeville, Cappa, Kilrush, believes the research scholarship is a fitting testimony to Adrienne.
The 27-year-old works as an operations engineer lead at MCR Personnel a construction recruitment specialist company in Dublin.
“Adrienne’s sudden death had a powerful effect on our 2010 group with international Roses flying from all across the world to be present for her funeral here in Ireland.
“In the days following her death we pledged that she would not be forgotten and her name would continue to be associated with making a positive change. We have been working steadily on creating this scholarship and are very grateful to Professor McGloughlin, Dr Walsh, Dr O’Hare and Sarah Hartnett for affording us the chance to do this. This is a long-term project for us and with support of Adrienne’s family and friends in Texas we hope to make a real difference in her name”.
“Research could take one year or twenty before significant advances are made. If we can save one life, it will have been worth it,” he said.
Former Irish rugby star David Wallace said, “Having played rugby for over 15 years with both Munster and Ireland, I know that injuries are often part of the game. We are always aware of the dangers of serious injuries such as an aneurysm.”
The scholarship will be partly funded by UL with the remaining funds coming from private donations raised through fundraising by Friends of A and the University of Limerick Foundation.
Speaking at the launch, Professor McGloughlin said, “Aneurysm research is an area of particular interest to the CABER team at UL. There is much to be learnt in how we diagnose and treat the condition and with this additional resource we hope to explore the possibilities of new and innovative approaches both diagnosis and treatment.”
The group will be funding the research by holding a series of fundraisers around the country in the coming months. One event planned for August and to coincide with the 2013 Rose of Tralee Festival will see members walking from Dublin to Tralee, arriving in time for the festival.
For more information see www.ulfoundation.com or the Friends of A Facebook page or follow on Twitter @friendsofa_.