Life Family Features

Friday 2 December 2016

Single mum Jennifer awarded carer of the year to children with rare brittle bone condition

Jane O'Faherty

Published 12/11/2015 | 02:30

Jennifer Carroll from Ballyclare, Co Offaly, with her children Ava (3) and Alex (8)
Jennifer Carroll from Ballyclare, Co Offaly, with her children Ava (3) and Alex (8)

Some 22 carers from across Ireland have been rewarded for their tireless work with members of their family.

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Single mother Jennifer Carroll received the overall Carer of the Year Award at a ceremony in Dublin hosted by broadcasters Marty Whelan and Mary Kennedy.

Ms Carroll, from Offaly, provides full-time care for her two children Alex (8) and Ava (3), who were both born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta - a condition which causes bones to break easily.

She also travels to Crumlin Hospital at least six times a month with Alex and Ava.

"I am a full-time carer for my two children who have Osteogenesis Imperfecta which is a brittle bone disease. This means the slightest fall will result in a fracture," she said speaking to Anton Savage on Today FM.

"It is constant supervision with them. Alex has had eight breaks and Ava has had three. I think they've adjusted to the pain. They go to Crumlin every three months for infusions to strengthen the bone. It won't cure them but it helps reduce the likelihood of a break.

"It was lovely to receive the award. It was such a big shock. The ceremony was lovely and there was so many carers who really deserved the award as well," she said.

Donagh O'Sullivan (12) from Cork won the Young Carer of the Year Award for looking after his brother Diarmuid, who has Autism and global developmental delay.

Donagh plays with Diarmuid for hours and even gives up his own bed when he is upset.

There are 187,000 family carers in Ireland, along with 6,500 young carers.

Catherine Cox of The Carers Association said: "While caring is a very challenging role, family carers provide care with love and it can be a very rewarding experience."

Donagh O'Sullivan (12) from Cork with his mother Julie O'Shea
Donagh O'Sullivan (12) from Cork with his mother Julie O'Shea

Irish Independent

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