A GARRYOWEN lady who has cared for her two disabled brothers, and uncle for over 20 years, has been named Regional Carer of the Year.
Mother of one Lorraine Williams, 42, of Fairview Crescent, has been a full time carer to her brother Patrick, 43, who has a learning difficulty, and sister Jennifer, 37, who has spina bifida, plus her uncle Raymond, 78, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
She also spent hours every day visiting her sister Teresa in Milford Hospice, before she passed away a short time ago.
Now, her efforts have been recognised by the Carers Association in the Mid-West following a nomination by her niece Natalie Kennedy, who referred to her as the “carer of a lifetime, not just the year”.
She will face 11 other carers from across the country at a Grand Final in Dublin next month, hosted by RTE’s Marty Whelan and Mary Kennedy.
Lorraine revealed that when she found out the good news from the Carers Association, she did not believe it at first.
“I thought it was one of those telephone jokes,” she said, “I have never even dreamt of getting an award like this, for something I just do every day. I am shocked to be honest with you.”
She added she never go looking for credit, stating: “I just get out and do what I have to do, and get on with life. That is my motto.”
Lorraine was also a carer to her mother Mary who tragically died from breast cancer.
Asked what kind of sacrifices she makes, Lorraine said: “I don’t go anywhere, I don’t go out. I might go to bingo now and again, but that is it. But my grandson Leroy keeps me going. He is such a lovely little kid - he is only four years old.”
Fianait Mitchell, who works as a family support officer with the Carers Association was full of praise for Lorraine.
She said: “It cannot be easy to look after just one person. But I think all the judges looked at the application and picked Lorraine. The care she gives is outstanding. To look after so many people and just to get on with life, and have such a positive outlook is difficult. To never ask for help or credit is just wonderful.”
Natalie, who nominated Lorraine for the award said her winning will send a strong message to carers across Limerick.
“To see this will give other carers the inspiration to keep going and to know the Carers Association is there and is a great help, and their work does not go unnoticed,” she said.
Lorraine follows in the footsteps of Woodview man Damien Hickey, 34, who was named Mid-West Carer of the Year for 2015, who won the title for the care he gives to his disabled mother.