Ronny named MS 'Volunteer of The Year'
LOCAL woman Ronny Vandenberg was honoured for her hard work on behalf of the Louth branch of Multiple Sclerosis Ireland recently when she was named 'Volunteer of the Year' by MS Ireland.
Ronny, who has MS herself, has been the secretary of the local branch for the past three years and said she was 'gobsmacked' to receive the award at the recent AGM of MS Ireland in Galway.
'I knew nothing about the award at all and had agreed to go down to the AGM with another girl from the branch so when they presented it to me I was absolutely gobsmacked,' explains the modest mother of six.
Originally from Holland, Ronny moved to Ireland at the age of nine when her father got a job as head gardener at Dromoland Castle. She moved to Drogheda in 1991 and now lives in Hill of Rath with her daughter, Jerona and grandson Samuel (7).
Ronny was diagnosed with MS in 1995 but said she doesn't let the disease hold her back.
'I said to the lady in our regional office recently: "I might have MS but I also have a life". The local branch is just fantastic and we do so much, we have coffee mornings, support meetings, yoga and a special exercise programme as well as fundraising events like flag days and bag packs.
'There is a brilliant support network there. Nearly everyone in the branch has MS and they always make a big effort to turn out for events, which is great.'
After she received the award in Galway, Ronny was thrilled to celebrate with the Louth branch members who held a party for her in the Monasterboice Inn, where the group hold their coffee morning once a month.
'I was nominated for the award by the branch and everyone wrote something about me as part of the nomination. It was something that never dawned on me that I would get so it was a really lovely surprise.
'I absolutely love doing the work and I love being involved. They had the party all organised and I knew nothing about it. We have a great bunch of people involved, there are about ten of us on the committee and up to 25 to 30 people who come to the coffee mornings and the support meetings. It's just a fantastic support network and a great organisation to be involved in.'