Young man still in coma a year after accident
"I go in to the hospital every day, sometimes for eight or 10 hours. I wouldn't have it any other way"
The lives of the Corrigan family in Screen changed dramatically in the space of a few moments on a summer's evening in June last year.
Maresa and Colm Corrigan's eldest son Darren had recently taken over as manager of the family business C&C hardware and was looking forward to his 21st birthday the following month.
A reserved young man, he was growing noticeably more confident and was enjoying the responsibility of running the business established by his father, a building contractor.
'He was getting on really well and he loved it,' said Maresa who has spent every day of the past year visiting Darren in hospital as he lies in a vegetative coma after sustaining severe head injuries in a quad bike accident near his home on June 23, 2016.
'Your heart is broken. Life has never been the same. He's on our minds all the time, first thing in the morning, last thing at night. Every day I pray to God to give me the strength I need to face the heartache of seeing him going through this.'
'My mother passed away three years ago from cancer. We nursed her before she died and that was tough. But nothing compares to seeing your child suffering.
The past thirteen months have been a living nightmare for Darren's relatives and friends as they wait in desperate hope for a breakthrough in his condition.
'I go in to the hospital every day, sometimes for eight or 10 hours. I wouldn't have it any other way. The staff have so many patients to look after and Darren needs so much care,' said Maresa who talks to her son, plays his favourite music including Ed Sheeran and Marty Mone's Hit the Diff and does body movement exercises with him.
'He has extremely good friends. They are in all the time. He has amazing friends. We are so thankful to them. They will come in and sit with Darren and let me get away for an hour or two,' said Maresa.
'I say to his friends, take your life and live it because it can change like this,' she added.
Darren is a former St. Peter's College student who has two younger brothers, Killian and Shéan now involved in the family business, and a six-year old sister Alicia.
A fund has been established under the name 'Our Fight for Darren' to raise money for his care in the future. 'We want him to come home. We want to start getting the house ready, to get it adapted. He will need 24-hour care and rehabilitation', said his mother, although she added that there is still a great deal of uncertainty about her son's condition.
'He still has surgeries to get through, then he will need rehabilitation. Staff from the National Rehabilitation Hospital are coming down to see him but he will have to be more medically stable before they accept him. He is still getting infections.'
'The doctors haven't given us much hope. We will never get the old Darren back. But he is definitely in there. I absolutely believe there is awareness there. There is a change in him when you walk into the room or when you rub his cheek.'.
'I have given him up to God so many times. I've said Dear Lord, if you want to take him, please take him. I don't want him here fighting for life. Darren wouldn't want this kind of life.'