Kerry Hospice Volunteer Honoured With Sunflower Hero Award

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No fee for repro - please credit Paul Sherwood - copyright Paul Sherwood © 2015 RTE’s Mary Kennedy launches Sunflower Days 2015 (to take place on June 5th and 6th 2015)  Hospice “SUNFLOWER HEROES” honoured for outstanding contribution to hospice care in Ireland  Hospice movement appeals to the public to donate and volunteer   Fourteen dedicated local volunteers were honoured at a special ceremony in The Mansion House in Dublin today (Thursday May 7th) for their outstanding contribution to hospice care in Ireland.  RTE’s Mary Kennedy made a special presentation to local “Sunflower Heroes” who give tirelessly of their time to bring vital hospice services to communities all over the country.  Ms Kennedy also announced details of national Hospice Sunflower Days, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and takes place on Friday, June 5th and Saturday, June 6th.  This is one of the biggest annual fundraisers for the hospice movement in Ireland and it is hoped that €1 million will be raised.  The event is coordinated on behalf of the hospice movement by the Irish Hospice Foundation and all of the funds raised locally, stay locally. People are being encouraged to support their local hospice service on June 5th and 6th by purchasing various pieces of Sunflower merchandise - including sunflower pins for €2 each from collectors on the streets of cities, towns and villages across Ireland.   Amongst the “Sunflower Heroes” honoured were: ·          Mother and daughter, Debby and Chloe MacNamara, both volunteers with Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services in Dublin. Debby got involved in the hospice in 2009 after her husband Gerry died in the Extended Care Unit of Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross.  Debby is also a keen gardener and helped Our Lady’s Hospice bring a new garden to the Bloom Festival. She also helps maintain the garden of the hospice itself.·          Nora Gahan, St Francis Hospice volunteer, who was nominated for her dedication to raising funds for the St Francis Hospice since 1989. Nora began working with the hospice as she wanted to help in her local community. Her sister also passed away under hospice care and Nora continued her fundraising efforts in her memory.·          Poet and artist Olive Murray-Power, a longstanding supporter of Wicklow Hospice Foundation, who has used her talents to create a book of her paintings and poems, with all proceeds in aid of her local hospice. Olive’s first husband Martin passed away from cancer so hospice is a cause very close to her heart.  A recent national survey commissioned by the Irish Hospice Foundation revealed that 75 per cent of Irish people want to die at home – however only 25 per cent will get to do so partly due to lack of services.  Launching Hospice Sunflower Days Mary Kennedy commented: “There is probably not a family in Ireland that has not been touched by the amazing work carried out by hospice services across the country. The care and support afforded to families in need, at a very difficult time, is so important and I am encouraging members of the public to show their support for Sunflower Days once again this year. By simply buying a pin you are helping to bring comfort and dignity to people at the end-of-life.”  She added: “It is so inspiring to meet the “Sunflower Heroes” and the dedicated volunteers from all over the country who do so much to secure hospice services locally. Without them there are many patients and their families whose end of life would be so much harder. They are all heroes in the true sense and need to be acknowledged. I am honoured to be here with them today.”   For more information, please contact:     Mary Ellen Breen or 083 425 7674. Pictured - Sunflower Hero Kay Woods and Ted Moynihan, Chairperson of Kerry Hospice Foundation, with Mary Kennedy

Sunflower Hero, Kay Woods (left), and Ted Moynihan, Chairperson of Kerry Hospice Foundation, with Mary Kennedy. Photo by Paul Sherwood

A KERRY Hospice Foundation volunteer has been named as a Sunflower Hero for outstanding contribution to hospice care.

Kay (Kathleen) Woods, received the honour at an event in Dublin on Thursday to mark the launch of National Sunflower Days in June.

The award was presented to the Killorglin woman by the well-known RTE Nationwide presenter, Mary Kennedy, at an award ceremony attended by hospice volunteers in the Mansion House, Dublin.

Kay is a valuable member of the Killorglin branch of Kerry Hospice since 2005, helping out on Sunflower Days, Ireland’s Biggest Coffee Morning and also the Killorglin car boot sale.

Kay and her sisters nursed their mother at home for a year until her death in 1997, and it was for this reason that Kay became involved in volunteering for Kerry Hospice Foundation.

In her nomination, Kay was described as “a great organiser” and an “integral part of the hospice” who gives up her time while holding down a full time job and caring for her family.

The Sunflower Heroes were announced at the launch of the 2015 Sunflower Days campaign which will take place on Friday, June 5th and Saturday, June 6th, 2015.

Over the two days members of the public will be asked to support their local hospice service by purchasing various pieces of Sunflower merchandise, including sunflower pins for €2 each, from collectors on the streets of cities, towns and villages around the country. There will be lots of volunteers collecting throughout Kerry.

In Kerry Hospice Foundation the money raised this year will help support the home care service and will also go towards the cost of building a new in-patient unit which is set to cost approximately €5.5m.

Volunteers are needed to help with Sunflower Days, for more information and to volunteer with your local hospice service visit

To volunteer with Kerry Hospice Foundation  contact Ted Moynihan on 087 6705014.

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