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Thursday 20 October 2016

Founders of children's hospice charity LauraLynn step down

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 10/08/2016 | 02:30

Jane and Brendan McKenna. Pictures: Arthur Carron
Jane and Brendan McKenna. Pictures: Arthur Carron

The founders of the LauraLynn children's hospice, Jane and Brendan McKenna, have stepped down from their public roles with the charity.

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Jane McKenna spearheaded the setting up of the hospice following the deaths of the couple's daughters, Laura and Lynn, who had terminal illnesses.

Niall McHugh, chairman of the board of LauraLynn, said yesterday the board and staff of LauraLynn wished to express their "deep gratitude" to the couple for being the "inspiration and driving force" of the work of the charity.

"The tragic loss of their two daughters, Lynn and Laura, was borne not only with dignity, but with a radical and selfless vision to transform the way children with life-limiting conditions live, and die.

"They are among the true pioneers of the children's palliative care movement in this country," Mr McHugh said.

"Their legacy is not only the hospice, which bears their daughters' names, but the opportunity to provide choice, changing the way we provide palliative care to children and families at the most difficult of times."

The couple always worked as volunteers for the charity and, in recent years, their efforts continued as fundraisers and ambassadors for the charity.

In a statement yesterday, the couple thanked all who had supported and helped the charity in its work of setting up and running a children's hospice.

"When we set out to establish LauraLynn House, Ireland's first children's hospice, in 2001/2002, we did so because of our own experience of palliative care, death and bereavement. Our two precious girls, Lynn and Laura, both had different life-limiting/life-threatening conditions, and sadly died within 20 months of each other," they said.

"We now feel it is timely for us to take a 'back seat' in the future direction of LauraLynn...After close to 14 years of tireless devotion, we feel we have realised our dream and worked hard to raise finances to build and run LauraLynn House. It has been a long, sometimes trying and often difficult road, but ultimately a great joy.

"Our primary aspiration of establishing a 'home from home' for dying children will be a permanent legacy from our girls as a place of haven and shelter to many other precious little ones and their families."

Irish Independent

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