Friday 30 September 2016

Miriam O'Callaghan supports LauraLynn memoir: 'Out of your sadness, you are making all of us feel hopeful'

Jane O'Faherty

Published 23/10/2015 | 08:05

22/10/15 Jane McKenna and her husband Brendan with Miriam O'Callaghan, Senator David Norris and Ray Darcy at the launch of her memoirs Laura and Lynn's Story, Living in the shadow of their smiles, at the Freemason's Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron
22/10/15 Jane McKenna and her husband Brendan with Miriam O'Callaghan, Senator David Norris and Ray Darcy at the launch of her memoirs Laura and Lynn's Story, Living in the shadow of their smiles, at the Freemason's Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron
22/10/15 Ray Darcy and wife Jenny at the book launch of Kane McKenna's memoirs Laura and Lynn's Story, Living in the shadow of their smiles, at the Freemason's Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron
22/10/15 Ray Darcy, Jane McKenna and Senator David Norris at the book launch of Kane McKenna's memoirs Laura and Lynn's Story, Living in the shadow of their smiles, at the Freemason's Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron
22/10/15 Jane McKenna at the launch of her memoirs Laura and Lynn's Story, Living in the shadow of their smiles, at the Freemason's Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron
22/10/15 Jane McKenna at the launch of her memoirs Laura and Lynn's Story, Living in the shadow of their smiles, at the Freemason's Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron
22/10/15 Jane McKenna and her husband Brendan at the launch of her memoirs Laura and Lynn's Story, Living in the shadow of their smiles, at the Freemason's Hall in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

RTE stars and long-time supporters Ray D’Arcy and Miriam O’Callaghan were on hand to celebrate the launch of LauraLynn book.

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The book, ‘Laura and Lynn’s Story – Living in the Shadow of their Smiles’, went on sale on Thursday and recounts the heart-breaking tale of Jane’s daughters Laura (4) and Lynn (15) to illness just 20 months apart.

It features extracts from Jane’s diaries, as well as contributions from Lynn’s friends and from other families who have lost children and have connections to LauraLynn.

After the tragedy of losing their children, Jane and her husband Brendan founded LauraLynn to address the lack of specialist care they had experienced.

It is now Ireland’s only Children’s Hospice providing palliative care and support for sick children. 

“At the end of the book you get the pay off, because people talk about what it meant to them to have respite, to be able to live as human beings and to have somewhere where a sick child could go and be happy,” said Senator Norris. 

LauraLynn Founder Jane McKenna said she hoped that the book would allow readers to learn more about her daughters and see what they meant to their parents. She added that it would also chart the experience of other families in similar situations.

“It’s about how the ordinary life you expected to have with your family can be rendered extraordinary, in both positive and very tragic ways”.

Some 3,800 children live with life-limiting conditions in Ireland. 350 of these children pass away each year, most within their first year of life.

Speaking at the launch, Ms O’Callaghan said she had never met “quite an exceptional couple” as Jane and Brendan McKenna.

She added that she was especially moved by the “uplifting” stories of LauraLynn families that feature in the memoir, and praised the families present.

“At the end of the day, you are telling a sad story in an incredibly uplifting way. Out of your sadness, you are making all of us feel hopeful,” she said.

A share of the proceeds from the memoir will be donated to LauraLynn’s Children’s Hospice.

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