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Ennis woman Clare Sydney who was presented with the Clare Family Carer Of The Year Award,with her husband Dee Sydney. Photograph by John Kelly

‘We are each other’s heroes’, says Munster carer of year

AN Ennis mother who cares for her daughter born with a rare syndrome has been named Netwatch Clare and Munster Family Carer of the Year.
Family Carers Ireland, the national charity supporting Ireland’s family carers, presented this year’s award to Clare Sydney this week.
Clare cares for her 12-year-old daughter Isabella who was born with Lumbosacral Agenesis which necessitates her using a wheelchair as her legs were amputated at the age of seven.
She was nominated by friends from the local carers group who say that she has to help Isabella with all facets of daily living and be one step ahead in planning for her future development and education, as well as sourcing appropriate services.
Clare, who is married to Dee and also mother to Isabella’s twin brother Anthony James, developed breast cancer and has been undergoing treatment for the past two years. She says that she and Isabella are each other’s heroes.
Clare is one of four regional finalists who will attend an awards ceremony in The Westin Dublin on November 25 when broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan will present one with the overall 2021 Netwatch Family Carer of the Year Award.
The annual awards seek to recognise and shine a light on the remarkable contribution of Ireland’s forgotten front line 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.
Family Carers Ireland’s Head of Communications and Policy Catherine Cox 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.”

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