LIMERICK student Laura McInerney was among the recipients at the Irish Heart Foundation’s second annual Stroke Awards, taking home an award due to her determination and positive outlook in recovering from illness.
The 21 year old from the Ennis Road received the Young Person’s Courage Award for the bravery she showed in overcoming the effects of a brain haemhorrage she suffered just 12 months ago.
Ten awards in total were presented at the Burlington Hotel this week to honour the bravery of stroke survivors and their families. The ceremony was hosted by Marty Whelan and All Ireland winning Dublin footballer Bryan Cullen was on hand to present awards to the winners.
Laura is working hard to make a full recovery through rehabilitation and remains upbeat despite the setback. She has since returned to Mary Immaculate College where she is taking a course in teaching children with disability.
“I feel fine now but I realise I gave my parents an awful fright,” Laura said this week after receiving the award.
“But I feel fine most of the time and I keep a positive outlook. It was a big disappointment to realise I couldn’t continue my nursing studies. But I am happy to be back at college in my new course. I’m in second year and it’s a four-year course.
“My arm is still a bit funny, I’m a bit limited in the fingers but I’m hoping to have an assessment soon so that I can start to learn to drive. I still go to physio and speech therapy twice a week – it’s like a good work-out,” she laughed.
Laura was nominated by her speech and language therapist Elaine Whelan who said: “Laura is always motivated and positive in her approach to her rehabilitation”.
“She often comments that she thinks of others who have worse difficulties and realises that she has done well. Laura has worked very hard towards her return to college and deserves recognition for this,” added Ms Whelan.
The Hannan family from Pallaskenry were also among the award winners this week, taking the family award for their remarkable strength in helping Pat Hannan overcome the stroke he suffered eleven years ago.
Pat was just 36 years of age when he was struck down with a massive stroke, changing his life and his family’s irrevocably. His wife Kathleen and sons Patrick and Aodha were by his side this week as they received the award.
“It was never meant to be a family award in the beginning, we nominated Pat for an award for overcoming his stroke, but it ended up being a family award and it was nice to acknowledge Pat and his fight and determination to get back,” said Kathleen.
“It was a very challenging time and he has made remarkable recovery and we all have a profound interest now in strokes and we are very aware that it does happen and happen to younger people as well.”
There are more than 50,000 stroke survivors in Ireland and their carers and families are busy fighting the country’s third biggest killer.
“It is so important for people who have strokes to have the support of family and community and they all helped us to make progress. Without everybody being involved, I definitely think we wouldn’t have made the same progress,” said Kathleen.
See Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Action for more.