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Extra mile: Kind Dylan helps Gran through 10 weeks of cocooning

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Living together in lockdown: Dylan Kerin (17) and his grandmother Sheila Carty at her home in Lucan, Co Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath

Living together in lockdown: Dylan Kerin (17) and his grandmother Sheila Carty at her home in Lucan, Co Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath

Living together in lockdown: Dylan Kerin (17) and his grandmother Sheila Carty at her home in Lucan, Co Dublin. Photo: Frank McGrath

When Dylan Kerin from Lucan in Dublin learned that lockdown was to be instated in Ireland, and that those considered at-risk had to cocoon, the 17-year-old immediately decided how he would spend the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was staying over at his 'Gran' Sheila Carty's house the day the measures were announced by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and refused to go home, instead deciding to remain there to keep her company through lockdown.

Dylan has not mixed with another person since March 27. He has kept his grandmother company, eased her fears, and looked after practicalities such as the shopping and getting her prescriptions.

Shops

Despite needing a cane to go to the shops himself because of a visual impairment, he did all this so she wouldn't have to leave the house and wouldn't feel nervous.

Today, Mr Kerin is honoured as the Irish Independent Frontline Star of the Week in association with the Croke Park Hotel.

Mr Kerin was nominated by his mother's friend, Lisa O'Neill, who said that while looking after his grandmother, the "selfless" fifth-year student was keeping up with school work.

"He's such a lovely boy, he's really intelligent, he's got a really great sense of humour with a dry wit and he's just a really all-round great kid," she said.

"Dylan has been visually impaired since birth and he needs a cane to get around but he has never let it get to him and he just takes it in his stride.

"His grandmother lives on her own, she's in her 70s and she has underlying health conditions.

"So when the news broke on Covid-19, and the high-risk cohort, she was quite afraid because she would be quite susceptible to it and ultimately she was afraid for her life.

"What really spoke to me is that he doesn't realise the magnitude of what he did. It just came so natural to say, 'I'll look after gran' - he just wanted to do it."

Dylan said he was shocked to receive the award.

"My mam rang me to ask if I wanted to go home, because I only had one chance really to go home, but I just thought, 'No, I'll stay here and look after Gran'," he said.

"She couldn't do anything so she would have just been lonely. Her husband is dead five years now and I knew that having some company would be really good for her.

"The best way I can describe Gran is a 70-year-old who looks like a 50-year-old and acts like a 20-year-old.

"As much as I was helping her she was always helping me as well and in the end, it was a team effort.

"I was shocked to be nominated for this, I did not expect this at all. I was just doing what I thought anyone would do in this situation.

"Gran loves getting out and having a coffee with her mates and I knew it would be a long time before she could do that, so it would have been cruel."

 

For more than 60 years, the Irish Independent has honoured the Sportstar of the Week. This year our nation has faced a challenge far beyond our sporting fields. To nominate someone, email your submission (100 words max), along with a photo, to frontlinestar@independent.ie. Each weekly winner receives a complimentary dinner, bed and breakfast stay at the Croke Park Hotel.

Irish Independent