Friday 30 September 2016

The Paul Williams Podcast: Jane McKenna on how she lost two beautiful daughters within two years of each other

Paul Williams

Published 24/05/2016 | 00:22

Paul Williams in the independent.ie studio after speaking with Jane McKenna, founder of the Laura Lynn Foundation. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Paul Williams in the independent.ie studio after speaking with Jane McKenna, founder of the Laura Lynn Foundation. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Photograph from Laura and Lynn's Story, by Jane McKenna, founder of the Laura Lynn Foundation who spoke to Paul Williams in the independent.ie studio. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

The pain of losing children does not end.

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But you cannot begin to comprehend what Jane and Brendan McKenna went through after they lost both their beautiful daughters, Laura (4) and Lynn (13), within two years of each other.

It is a true testament to their courage and spirit that the McKennas went on to found the LauraLynn Children’s Hospice as a lasting legacy to their children and to help other families in their darkest hour.

This year is particularly poignant, as the McKenna’s daughters should be celebrating their 21st and 30th birthdays.

Jane said that she will always wonder how her daughters’ lives could have turned out.

Photograph from Laura and Lynn's Story, by Jane McKenna, founder of the Laura Lynn Foundation who spoke to Paul Williams in the independent.ie studio. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Photograph from Laura and Lynn's Story, by Jane McKenna, founder of the Laura Lynn Foundation who spoke to Paul Williams in the independent.ie studio. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Laura was in Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin receiving surgery for a hole in her heart in August 1999 when Lynn was unexpectedly diagnosed with leukaemia.

Photograph from Laura and Lynn's Story, by Jane McKenna, founder of the Laura Lynn Foundation who spoke to Paul Williams in the independent.ie studio. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Photograph from Laura and Lynn's Story, by Jane McKenna, founder of the Laura Lynn Foundation who spoke to Paul Williams in the independent.ie studio. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

The two sisters were particularly close and Lynn was protective of her younger sibling.

“Like most children, Lynn was full of life and interested in everything. She was happy and never sick a day in her life,” Jane said.

“I often do wonder how much Lynn worried [about Laura]. She never said she did and I know she was only aged nine or 10, but I often think, yeah, she did worry. I then saw something in her diary subsequently and knew she had worried more than she said.”

Heartbroken Jane said that the feeling of knowing both your children were seriously ill was “horrific”.

Listen to the full interview with Paul Williams above

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