independent

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Damien is MS Person of the Year

Damien Byrne (second from left), who received the MS Ireland Person of the Year Award, with (from left) Elsie Ryan, chairperson of the MS East Wicklow branch, Mark Mitchell, who nominated Damien, Ava Battles, CEO of MS Ireland, and Geraldine Dunne, Regional
Community Worker at the coffee morning in the Arklow Bay Hotel
Damien Byrne (second from left), who received the MS Ireland Person of the Year Award, with (from left) Elsie Ryan, chairperson of the MS East Wicklow branch, Mark Mitchell, who nominated Damien, Ava Battles, CEO of MS Ireland, and Geraldine Dunne, Regional Community Worker at the coffee morning in the Arklow Bay Hotel

Eimear Dodd

An Arklow man has won the MS Person of the Year Award.

Damien Byrne was nominated for the honour by Mark Mitchell on behalf of the MS Ireland's East Wicklow branch.

An active member of the East Wicklow Branch, Damien recognised that geographic region of the local branch makes it impractical for people living in Arklow to attend coffee mornings taking place in Bray. Therefore, he decided to set up a coffee support group in the Arklow Bay Hotel over five years ago and has run it ever since. The coffee morning is a very social event which has grown in popularity over the years.

Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the MS National Conference in Limerick on September 21 so Mark Mitchell accepted the award in his absence.

However, MS Ireland CEO Ava Battles attended the Arklow coffee morning on Friday last to present Damien with his award.

Damien has worked hard over the years to raise money for the East Wicklow branch. He has organised a shave-off and darts night, and also secured flag days in Aldi, Tesco and Pettitt's Supervalu Arklow.

Damien also organised the use of the Arklow Bay Hotel gym and hotel swimming pool for people with MS at a substantially discounted rate.

When advised that he was to receive the honour from MS Ireland, Damien said: 'I really enjoy helping people, it's when I feel happiest if I know I have helped at least one person. Arklow has a lot of amazing people all supporting each other through things in life. The Arklow coffee morning is an amazing way to meet great people and to see all people from different walks of life connect immediately and help one another, that makes me smile.'

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