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Connacht Tribune

Rosabel’s living legacy

Judy Murphy

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Gary Monroe and Suzanne McClean with their little boy, Ruben, aged six. His handwritten script sits alongside the rose – the work of artist Jim FitzPatrick on the charity’s logo. PHOTO: JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY.

Lifestyle – After their 16-month-old daughter died suddenly in April 2017, Gary Monroe and Suzanne McClean channelled their grief into the charity Rosabel’s Rooms,  which helps other families in a similar situation. They talk to Judy Murphy

Suzanne McClean and Gary Monroe knew from the day she was born that their daughter Rosabel – Beautiful Rose – was special.  Born on January 5, 2016, a baby sister for their gorgeous son Ruben, she was “the icing on the cake” of their happy family.

Suzanne used to ask her baby girl ‘where did you come from?’ and ‘were you here before?’, and says that while all parents rightly think their babies are special, there was something unique about Rosabel, who connected with everyone she met during her short life.

And Rosabel’s life on this earth was all too short. At just 16 months, the toddler who had been perfectly healthy, passed away in her cot at home in Mincloon, Galway City. Her death was classified as a Sudden Unexplained Death Sin Early Childhood (SUDEC). It’s similar to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome but in older children.

Gary was at work the evening Rosabel stopped breathing at their home on April 2017 – he and his brother Rob run the renowned Monroe’s Bar and music venue.

“I called Gary to get an ambulance, but he got her before it and we raced to the hospital,” recalls Suzanne softly of that awful evening.

The care Rosabel and her parents received in UHG from Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Donough O’Donovan and the staff was brilliant. But the facilities for parents in a time of such unspeakable distress were bad.

“There was an area off the Resuscitation Room in the Emergency Department and we spent the night in there with her,” they recall.

The medics had tried everything to resuscitate little Rosabel, but it was too late.

“She had died at home, but they worked on her very hard to try and save her,” says Suzanne. “She was pronounced dead after midnight and we stayed with her, in that small space, until after lunch the following day.”

Even through their grief and shock, Suzanne and Gary realised that better facilities were needed for parents and families going through such tragedy.

And so, the idea of Rosabel’s Rooms, a charity providing support to other families in a similar situation, took seed. It was launched the following January on what would have been Rosabel’s second birthday.  Run in conjunction with the Irish Hospice Foundation, it has three aspects.

The first is the development of Bereavement Rooms in hospitals to offer families a private, safe space when a child is dying. The second is financial support for what can be a cripplingly expensive as well as a deeply traumatic time.  And the third is a paid-for counselling service, with accredited psychologists and psychotherapists. Suzanne, a psychologist, works with the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and knows the value of counselling.

For more, read this week’s Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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