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Memorial walk offers family chance to say thanks for Hospice care


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Memorial walk offers family chance to say thanks for Hospice care Memorial walk offers family chance to say thanks for Hospice care

“Angels in disguise” is how Tanya Folan describes the Galway Hospice team who helped care for her daughter at home through her last days just before she turned twelve.

Leah died on March 1, 2020, a mere 18 days after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Leah had a severe intellectual disability, right side cerebral palsy and epilepsy and was non-verbal. Having cared for her beloved daughter throughout her short life, it is still a shock to Tanya that it was cancer that killed her so quickly.

“She’d buy and sell you, the same young one. She was very, very bright, she was energetic. She never had a cross face, even when getting her seizures. She always bounced back. The cancer was out of the blue.”

Tanya wheeled Leah in their first Galway Memorial Walk in 2019 to raise money for the Galway Hospice. Now the extended family do it in her memory, having experienced at firsthand how valuable the service is for beleaguered families.

“I would have been totally lost without the Hospice. I used to pass it and say I hope I never need it. But they organised everything when we brought Leah home from the hospital. They’re angels in disguise, those women,” she recalls from her home in Ballybrit.

“One of them, Sorcha, was meant to go home after being here all day and stayed all night. A social worker from there did a memory box for us and organised Leah’s fingerprints, which I wear on a chain. They think of everything. We’re so grateful she got to come home.”

Tanya, her son Darren and husband Paul are thankful that Leah, a student at Rosedale school, got the send-off she deserved, having died just before the Covid lockdown.

Last year’s Galway Memorial Walk was the first time they returned to Claddagh Hall since 2019 for a cuppa after doing the 6.5km walk by the swamp, along the Prom as far as Blackrock and back. There were 15 of them and they raised over €800.

“It’s beautiful. You do it at your own pace. You see people you haven’t seen all year. Sometimes I think I’m the only one who lost a child to cancer but you do that walk and you realise you’re not. It’s very poignant remembering all those we’ve lost.”

This is the 18th year of one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Galway Hospice in Renmore. Last year nurses from their community palliative care team cared for 971 patients across the city and county.

Register for the event which kicks off at noon from Claddagh Hall on Sunday, September 10, at or call Galway Hospice Fundraising on 091-770868.

Pictured: The Folan family on the Memorial Walk last year in memory of Leah.

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