HOME is certainly where the heart is for Patricia Ingle and her family.
The young woman, who was struck down with a rare disease four years and spent 1,069 days in the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, is back with her family in Murroe.
After some nine months in a rehabilitation centre in Oxford, Tricia is home for good.
“Every day for us as a family to have Tricia with us is a wonderful day. This is where we want Tricia - with her family, with as much independence as she can get.
“She is so thankful to everyone who has helped and supported her over the last four years,” said her dad Pat Ingle.
The rare disease she contracted from parrots while working in a pet shop in the city in 2008 has left her in a wheelchair and breathing with the aid of a ventilator.
But her fight to reclaim her life continues, and her father said they couldn’t be more proud of the progress she has made.
“Of course she’d love to be able to do more, but she’s always upbeat and positive. You could count on one hand the number of times she has felt down over the years. The nurses in England really loved her, and called her their Irish daughter,” he said.
Like any other 23 year-old woman, Tricia still loves to shop, especially for trainers, and is a keen concert goer, seeing Jessie J in the Marquee in Cork recently, and she’ll be travelling to Dublin to see Kelly Clarkson next month.
She recently visited Fota Wildlife Park in Cork to celebrate having left hospital exactly a year ago, and is still passionate about animals.
“Her confidence has been built up so much since she was in hospital. For a long time we spoke to doctors on her behalf, but she really is her own person,” he said.
Tricia can stay off her ventilator for about an hour a day now, and is still making steps to walk again. She has returned to her normal weight, and is off a lot of medication, previously taking 24 tablets a day for various conditions, which her family see as other signs of hope.