Brave Patricia's smile to light up Skyfest
THE country's biggest fireworks display is guaranteed to attract thousands of spectators this Saturday night -- but for one brave young woman, it will have far greater significance.
Patricia Ingle (21) suffered severe brain damage from a viral infection two years ago and has not left hospital in the past 18 months.
However, the young woman will leave her bed at the high-dependency unit at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital this weekend for the National Lottery Skyfest at King John's Castle in Limerick.
Her father Pat said Patricia's family was absolutely delighted that she was getting out of hospital for the fireworks display.
"We are just hoping now for good weather on Saturday. It will mean so much to us to see Patricia's lovely smile when the fireworks light up the sky," he said.
From Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra-Weston, Limerick, the Ingle family have had to cope with a lot since Patricia was struck down two years ago.
"It damaged her brain stem and as a result she cannot breathe, swallow or eat. The virus is like meningitis and did severe damage to her," explained Pat.
"Her breathing has to be assisted and she is fed through a tube into her stomach. She is also wheelchair-bound."
The young woman originally spent four months in Cork University Hospital and has now been in the busy Limerick hospital for the past 14 months.
Before her illness, Patricia had hoped to open her own dog-grooming parlour.
Pat, who praised the medical staff for their care, added: "We would love to have her home soon but it will be a complex discharge.
"Her mother Annette and sisters Melissa and Kiera have been very good to her and her boyfriend, Kenneth, has stood by her throughout this."