Helen is chosen as Wexford's Carer of the Year
Kilmore native Helen O'Connor received recognition for her generous and selfless actions when she was named Wexford's Carer of the Year.
Helen, who was nominated by aunt Philomena McCudden, received the award from Family Carer's Ireland in light of the care that she has given to her three brothers who suffer from Fredereich's Ataxia. This rare disease causes progressive damage to the nervous system and movement problems.
Helen acted as a support to her parents before her brothers received full-time carers 12 years ago.
'They had the illness since they were born but lived a normal life until they were about 16 or 17 when all of their muscles deteriorated. Over the years, I helped Mam and Dad to look after them by doing things such as helping the boys in the evenings, putting them to bed and bringing them to their hospital appointments,' explained Helen.
Dominic (46), Jarlath (41) and Damien (31) moved into a specially adapted home 12 years ago and have had full-time carers since then.
Helen was presented with a clock and a bouquet of flowers at the Carer's Office in Henrietta Street in honour of her award. She described the occasion as 'a lovely surprise'.
'It felt great. It was so nice for someone to do something like that for me,' she said.
Helen will now represent Wexford at the National Carer of the Year Awards in the Westin Hotel in Dublin tomorrow (Wednesday). She will travel up to the awards with some family members and two of her brothers' carers. Whether or not she wins one of the four awards, she said she is 'delighted' to even be attending.
'I am just so overwhelmed by winning the Wexford one,' she said.