Tag Archives: help

Alzheimer’s Tea Day

The Big Brew
The Big Brew

Today is Alzheimer’s Tea Day, a national fund-raising event for The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland. There’s probably a tea day happening near you today or over the coming days to raise funds for the society so do your best to pop in for a cuppa or make a donation via their website at www.teaday.ie.

My fabulous friend Anne Marie will be having her tea day on Satuday in Dundalk where I’ll be doing my best to help her keep the tay flowing & biscuits coming. If you’re about, be sure to pop in – tis open house from 11am to 8pm so you’ve no excuse! Info on where to find the place is on the wee map here.¬†

Pat Kenny is a long time supporter of the society, here’s why you should get involved:

Suicide. Yes that’s right, suicide. Let’s talk about it.

This is a post that’s been brewing within me for a long time. A series of recent events has brought it to the fore once again & this time I need to get it out of my system.

Suicide. No greater taboo exists in Ireland in my opinion. Every year hundreds of people die by suicide in Ireland. In 2007 (latest available figures from the National Office for Suicide Prevention) 460 people took their own lives in Ireland & Ireland had the 5th highest suicide rate for people between 15 & 24 in Europe.

Statistics are easy to list, to hear & forget about. The reality is most of us sadly know of at least one person, either in our families, communities or circle of friends who has taken their own life. In the past 10 days alone I’ve encountered 2 cases – while they weren’t personal friends or even acquaintances, it was still in my life & I was aware of it. While at home in Clare for Easter, a person in their late 50s took their own life. On Friday, my flatmate went to the funeral of a 13 year old girl who had also taken her own life. These incidents coupled with a conversation that happened to dredge up my own personal experience of suicide has led me to finally discussing this more publicly, which is something I strongly believe needs to happen desperately in Ireland.

Almost 2 years ago I lost a first cousin to suicide. He was a talented furniture designer with a thriving business, a wife and a wonderfully close family of 4 sisters, a mother & a father. I remember exactly where I was when I got the news. I was waiting on an Indian takeaway I was treating myself to having just had an interview with X Communications and been offered a job I had dreamed of. A major high to a major low in 10 seconds flat. The shock was unbelievable. As the cliche goes, he was the last person on earth I’d have expected to go down that road. The journey home to Clare for the funeral felt like an eternity so great was my dread of what I was to face. I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life & it haunts me from time to time since – the faces, the shock, the tears, the sobbing. It was the first and only time I’ve seen my dad cry. And he wasn’t the only tough-skinned grown man who had to leave the house to gasp for air amidst the overwhelming emotion.

Regardless of reasoning given by victims of suicide, one thing is absolutely clear in my mind – it’s almost impossible for someone who is contemplating suicide to reach out for help in Ireland when such a huge stigma is still attached to it. I remember at the time of my cousins’ untimely death it was referred to as ‘the tragedy’ by various people and they never once dared to mention the word suicide, least of all get into any sort of discussion about it.

Spending on healthcare in Ireland in general is being hit by the budget cuts, day-to-day mental health services falling foul under the wider umbrella. Charities such as Aware, 3 Ts and SpunOut.ie are all feeling the pinch as our own purse strings have had to tighten also on account of our awful economic situation. While all of these organisations (and many more besides) do wonderful work supporting people who often simply need to talk to someone about our problems, I think the real solution will emerge from removing the stigma surrounding suicide. We need to start talking about it or at the very least stop being afraid to talk about it. Even if it’s not something affecting you directly or something that’s on your mind, if it crops up (like id did for me this past week) well then don’t rush to change the subject or brush it under the carpet. Talk about it. Get a discussion going & let’s get rid of this fear, this awful taboo & see what a difference we might make. When it came up in conversation with a friend last week I almost shut down completely as I was embarassed to talk about it, partly because I’m rubbish at talking about anything emotional anyway but partly due to it being so taboo and such a touchy subject. But I eventually openened up and felt far better for it afterwards. Looking back now I feel like an idiot for being embarassed about it.

If I’ve upset or confused or touched a nerve with anyone by writing this well feel free to leave a comment, email me or come find me and we’ll have a coffee or a pint, I’m more than happy to talk :)

I carry an Organ Donor Card – why don’t you?

Donor Card
Donor Card

Don’t ask me why or when it hit me but some time over the past few weeks I finally got myself a Donor Card. It’s been something on the long to-do list for an age & something very easy yet worthwhile to do. Why get one?

  • You are 3 times more likely to need an organ transplant than be a donor.
  • Transplant operations are becoming more & more successful thanks to advances in medicine yet the number of patients in need outnumbers the number of donors available
  • You could give someone an incredible gift
  • Putting your wish to be a donor in your will is simply too late

So how can you get one? It’s very easy – there’s several different ways you can get your card, all listed in the Irish Kidney Association website. Once you get your card it’s very important that you do the following:

  • Sign the back of the card yourself
  • Get your next of kin to sign the back of the card
  • Carry the card with you at all times
  • Tell people that you carry the card (and maybe even convince one or two of them to do the same!)

There’s plenty more information available on organ donation and transplantation at the Irish Kideny Associaton website at www.ika.ie.

Required: lovely person for little favour in Cork on May bank holiday weekend

City Hall, Cork. City Hall, Cork.

So I have a little prediciment that I need help with, specifically from someone lovely living in Cork city who will be around about for a while on the following times on the May bank holiday weekend to hang on to a set of keys for me:

  • ¬†Evening of Friday May 1st
  • Late morning/early lunchtime of Saturday May 2nd

Why? I plan to go to Cork for the Internation Choral Festival & had hoped to stay with my sister who lives opposite the School of Music. As luck would have it, she has to travel to Clare to play at a church wedding that’s happening Saturday morning. All her mates are out of town studying like mad for exams that weekend so we’re stuck for a way to get her apartment keys from her to myself.

I sadly don’t have any connections left in Cork myself so I’m wondering if there’s some lovely person/people out there who could save my bacon and hang on to keys for me on Friday evening and I’ll collect them on Saturday morning/lunchtime?

If you think you can be my little saviour, drop a comment here or an email to cloudsteph@gmail.com. Thanks :)

Update: I’m not a total wagon, there will be gifts & thanks abound !