TEACHER Aisling O'Leary.

Ballygar woman continues her late mother’s fundraising efforts

A YOUNG teacher who lost both her parents to cancer was determined to continue her mum’s Hospice fundraising efforts when she became too ill to hold the events.

Aisling O’Leary, 32, decided to carry on her mum Bridie’s coffee mornings in aid of Galway Hospice, where her father Shane passed away from cancer in 1998.

Aisling, from Ballygar, also cares for her younger sister Niamh, 30, who has special needs, and believes a Hospice is a more calmer setting for anyone with additional needs if they have to say goodbye to a loved one.

“My dad Shane died when Niamh and I were only small but I still have memories of spinning around in chairs in a Hospice and remembering it as a place that wasn’t scary or clinical,” said Aisling.

She will be fundraising on Thursday when the Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice takes place right across Ireland – and is urging others to do the same – or simply donate if they cannot host one.

“My sister Niamh was also a lot calmer in those settings than in hospitals, where there is always a lot more going on all the time.

“Mum’s complications meant she needed hospital treatment at the end but we were so lucky that nurses replicated a calming hospice environment by placing her in her own room, which meant so much for my family and for the needs of my sister Niamh.

“All too often, people think they’ll have loads of time to say their final goodbye until the time comes and then everything seems hurried or unprepared. Hospice staff prepare everyone for that goodbye, which can help the grieving process.”

She said that, after her father died, her mother was passionate about helping to raise money for the Hospice and, with the help of the Ballygar Hospice Support Group, family and community, she hosted the events until her illness deterred her from being as involved as she would’ve like to be in 2018.

“Mam did so much for so long for the Hospice, I was determined to carry on the event, despite Covid-19, so we did it safely through the kindness of the local Centra, where people could donate for a free coffee while socially distancing,” said Aisling.

“Hospice services can make you prepare for death in a better way, with a little less fear for everyone, including those with additional needs who grasp even less than others the concept of saying that final goodbye.”

Together for Hospice, The National Hospice Movement, represents 26 Hospice and specialist palliative home care providers supporting patients and their families nationwide.

To register to host a coffee morning on Thursday or on a date that suits you, visit www.hospicecoffeemorning.ie or Call save 0818 995 996. Hosts are provided with a free Coffee Morning Pack containing Bewley’s coffee, posters and invitations.

If you can't host, you can make a donation to your local hospice at www.hospicecoffeemorning.ie/donate.