Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

News

UHG scholarships tribute to tragic diabetes sisters

Published

on

Scholarships are to be set up by University Hospital Galway staff in memory of two Galway City sisters who left a lasting impression on all who met them during their long stints in the Diabetes Centre before they both succumbed to a cruel illness eleven years apart.

With just 13 months between them, Tanya and Hazel Tarpey from Letteragh, Rahoon, seemed perfectly healthy little girls. The eldest in the family, Tanya was nearly three when she was diagnosed with APECED (autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy). Her sister was tested a year later following a fall off a tricycle.

The condition is a rare genetic autoimmune disease affecting mainly the endocrine glands. The most common features are parathyroid gland failure, affecting calcium metabolism, chronic susceptibility to candida yeast infection and Addison’s disease or adrenal insufficiency.

During their early years the pair had to regularly attend hospital in Galway and Dublin for blood and calcium monitoring and take medication such as steroids, but it was only when they hit their mid-teens that the condition took a turn for the worse, explains their mam Mary.

“They had very low calcium levels, energy levels. They’d have muscular spasms where the muscles would lock which was very painful. Hazel had been to the UK to be assessed for a transplant but it didn’t work out. Every time you’d solve one thing you’d hit another brick wall, yet another obstacle.”

Tanya was just 21 when she died on September 6, 2003, an unimaginable blow for her parents Mary and Tim, sister Ruth and brother Dermot. But it must have been truly horrific for Hazel, knowing she could share the same fate.

“She always had a smile on her face regardless of what was going on in her head knowing what happened to her sister. She’d worry about other people all the time. She was so kind. She had a wonderful outlook, she was a wonderful girl. They both were.”

While Tanya had never spent more than a fortnight in hospital at a time, Hazel tried some new generation therapies, some of which worked for a while and gave her relief. But gradually her hospital admissions became longer and in the last five years her condition deteriorated severely.

“She would have been a very independent person, she had her own car, she used to drive to matches, she would never go on holidays to Spain or France, but she might manage an overnight stay in Dublin but would link up with St Vincent’s Hospital just in case.

“She did a childminding course as she loved small kids and did work for a little while but her illness got in the way.”

Eventually Hazel had to be on a daily drip and take steroids continuously for pain relief. She went into hospital on January 2 last year and never returned home. She died on October 29.

Mary insists that she would have been happy to be in University Hospital Galway, among people she loved so dearly.

“She idolised the staff in the hospital, and they idolised her. Both of the girls did,” she recalls.

“[Consultant Endocrinologist] Prof [Tim] O’Brien said to us for the interns coming along in August, they’re going to be at such a loss. Every single one of them was sent to Hazel. She was able to do her own bloods, calculate blood doses, measure her meds. She was so in tune with her treatment. If they were in doubt, they’d come back and check with her.”

It’s been a difficult road for the entire family, with midnight trips to the emergency department if one of them suddenly took poorly. Mary recalls travelling to the UK for treatment with Hazel when Ruth was about to begin her Leaving Cert.

“To be honest so many people ask me how I coped. Hand on heart I don’t know. You do what you have to do don’t you? I never thought about trying to get support. I’d meet my husband at the door, one of us was always coming and going from the hospital to be with her. You just got on with things,” she says.

“The team at the hospital was just fantastic for both of them. From the nursing staff, the kitchen staff, porters, cleaners. She was like part of them because she would have spent so much time there.”

Some staff treated both sisters. They have decided to create two scholarships in their names, which will support a medical student and a nursing student at NUI Galway.

“They are remembered with such fondness by other patients as well as staff at the Diabetes Centre who got to know them so well over the years. The sisters left a deep and lasting impression, particularly because of their extraordinary courage,” said a spokesperson for the centre.

■ To raise funds for the bursaries, donations can be made to Diabetes Care West. Contact Garrett Hurley, Diabetes Unit 091 542148 on Ext 2720 or email garrett.hurley@hse.ie

Connacht Tribune

Development hailed as major boost in tackling local housing demand

Published

on

Artist’s impression...the proposed Claregalway housing development.

The green light has been given to a sizeable residential development in Claregalway, which was the subject both of strenuous opposition and support in the area.

An Bord Pleanála have granted planning permission for 111 houses and apartments in Claregalway following a strategic housing development application by K King Construction for the development at Lakeview, Claregalway.

Local councillor David Collins (FG) welcomed the decision saying that there was an urgent need for new housing in Claregalway given the demand.

And he also paid tribute to developer Walter King for offering land for the development of community facilities to the local area.

“We need the houses and we need the land so this decision satisfies Claregalway on both fronts,” Cllr Collins added.

The Athenry Oranmore area councillor also said that requirement that a certain number of houses be reserved for Irish speakers was also a boost to developing the language in the area – Claregalway is part of the Gaeltacht.

The higher planning authority ruled that the proposed development would constitute an acceptable residential density at this location and was also acceptable in terms of traffic and pedestrian safety.

They also said that the site could be drained satisfactorily and that surface water would not be an issue.

The site for the development measures over twelve acres in size and is located at the junction of the Lydican Road about three quarters of a mile from the village off the main Oranmore road.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Carna’s Community Café raises a cuppa – and funds – for new Ukrainian arrivals

Published

on

Carna Community Café volunteers presenting a cheque to Irish Red Cross Conamara Area Director Niall O'Meachair (third from right); pictured are (from left) Máirín Ní Churraion, Kate Mulkerrins, Siobhán Kennedy, Tom Lane and Máire Ní Domhnaill.

Carna’s new Community Cafe has donated €1,000 to the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal – thanks to the village’s love of tea, cake, and a good old chat.

The brainchild of a group of sea-swimming enthusiasts living in the area, the weekly café started just before Easter as a way to help people begin socialising again after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Looking to simply cover costs – with the café’s bakers and servers all volunteering and charging just a euro for a cup of tea or a piece of cake – the team decided any excess income would be donated to charity.

Little did they know that just five weeks later they would be passing on €1,000 to the Red Cross.

“The aim initially wasn’t to raise money at all, we just wanted to provide a friendly, welcoming and affordable place where people could come and have a chat and see each other again,” said Máirín Ní Churraoin, who runs the local Post Office.

“But it’s been proving more popular than we could have imagined, so we decided that any income generated has to go to a good cause – for this first donation we all felt the Red Cross Ukraine appeal was an obvious choice.”

The Ukraine appeal is even more fitting given the location of the Café: the dining room of the Carna Bay Hotel, which is currently providing accommodation to people who have fled the conflict.

“We’re delighted to be able to support this fantastic initiative, it’s just brilliant to see people coming out and socialising over a bit of cake again,” said Karl Rogers from the Carna Bay Hotel.

“And with the tea, musicians and chat, it’s a great way for our guests from Ukraine to meet local people and experience Irish culture first-hand.”

At the most recent event on Saturday May 7th, Irish Red Cross Conamara Area Director, Niall O’Meachair was on hand to collect a cheque for €1,000.

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive this money from the Community Café in Carna, and through the work of the Red Cross we’ll make sure it goes to helping people affected by this awful, awful conflict.”

The Community Café is held every Saturday in the Carna Bay Hotel, 10am to 12:30pm.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Old stone-carved bank sign to be retained after community lobby

Published

on

Deputy Sean Canney outside the old Bank of Ireland building at Shop Street in Tuam.

An old stone carved sign on the front of a former bank building in the heart of Tuam is to be retained, following intense representations from the local business community.

The building is currently being renovated by the Department of Social Protection which is moving into the property over the coming months

Galway East TD Sean Canney received confirmation from the Department that the red brick building on Shop Street will retain the old Bank of Ireland name.

The Bank of Ireland was originally located at Shop Street in Tuam before moving to its current location at Dublin Road several decades ago.

The building on Shop Street was then occupied by the town library, which has since moved to the local Council offices, and now it is being renovated so that it can be occupied by the Department of Social Protection.

During the renovations of the old library building on Shop Street to make way for the new Intreo Centre, which brings together various social welfare services, the old stone carved sign was revealed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending