Friday 9 December 2016

Guilt drove me to help bereaved parents -- Miriam

Edel O'Connell

Published 15/09/2011 | 05:00

Anam Cara ambassador Miriam O'Callaghan in Dublin's Iveagh Gardens yesterday with, from left, Susie Kelly (4) from Dundrum, Sophie (8) and
Matthew Farrell (3) from Stillorgan – whose brother Daniel died at 15 months – and David Burke (5) from Rathfarnham
Anam Cara ambassador Miriam O'Callaghan in Dublin's Iveagh Gardens yesterday with, from left, Susie Kelly (4) from Dundrum, Sophie (8) and Matthew Farrell (3) from Stillorgan – whose brother Daniel died at 15 months – and David Burke (5) from Rathfarnham

MOTHER-of-eight Miriam O'Callaghan says she feels a sense of guilt that her own children are all fit and well whenever she hears stories of tragedy and loss.

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The RTE presenter took a central role yesterday at an event to support bereaved parents organised by Anam Cara -- a national voluntary organisation set up by parents who have lost a child.

Ms O'Callaghan said: "I always feel guilty that I have all of my kids around me and they are all fit and healthy when others have experienced such hardship. So, when I was asked to be an ambassador for Anam Cara I said 'yes, yes, yes'."

She joined a group of bereaved mothers to launch Anam Cara's 'Balloon to Remember' campaign in Dublin's Iveagh Gardens.

The campaign will raise awareness and funds to enable the group to extend its services to bereaved parents.

A balloon release ceremony will be held in November in memory of all children who have died.

Among the mothers at the launch was Fiona Farrell from Stillorgan, Co Dublin, who lost her son Daniel in 2007 while on holiday.

"We were on holidays and everything was perfect. I put Daniel to bed and when I went to check on him we discovered he had died. It later transpired he had a heart condition called myocardiopathy. Our whole lives came crashing down around us.

''People don't really know how to talk to you about it, but Anam Cara helped us so much. It is so important that bereaved parents get a chance to talk to other parents who have lost children," she said.

Irish Independent

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