Sam McCauley’s Employee Says Thanks To Facility Which Helped Her Family

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Staff from Sam McCauley’s, including Jennifer McCaffrey and family, at the presentation of a cheque to Bru Columbanus last Thursday.

THE staff in Sam McCauley Chemists Tralee made a very special charity presentation to Bru Columbanus, a facility close to the heart of one particular employee.

The team in Sam McCauley’s raised an amazing €2,443 through a Christmas Wrapping Collection in December.

A long serving member of staff in Sam McCauley’s, Jennifer McCaffrey, from Tralee, learned first-hand the service Bru Columbanus provides where accommodation is free of charge to the relatives of seriously ill patients in Cork hospitals and hospices, especially relatives of sick children.

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In 2014 Jennifer and her partner, JP Healy from Adare, were excitedly awaiting the arrival of their baby daughter. When Jennifer’s waters broke unexpectedly at just 25 weeks pregnant, she had to be transferred from University Hospital Kerry to Cork University Hospital in order to receive the care she needed.

Jennifer received wonderful care from all the doctors and nurses in CUH and her beautiful daughter Ella May was welcomed into the world 11 weeks prematurely in November 2014 weighing just 3lbs.

Due to complications from Jennifer’s waters breaking so early and being born so prematurely Ella May stayed in CUH from 16th November 2014 until she was finally left home on January 5, 2015.

Jennifer did not leave her side and her ability to remain so close to her precious daughter was made possible in no small part by the people in Bru Columbanus.

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Bru Columbanus provided an en suite family room to Jennifer and JP throughout their stressful and often emotional hospital journey with Ella May. They had access to a communal kitchen and lounge where they met and became friendly with other families in similar situations which was a source of great support.

Ella May remained in hospital all through the Christmas period of 2014. Having a child in hospital at any point of the year is difficult but becomes more so during the festive period.

However, because of the service Bru Columbanus provided, Jennifer’s two older children Abbie and Luke were able to come and stay with her during the weekend. They could spend time together and go Christmas shopping.

Bru Columbanus allowed them to feel like a family again during a Christmas period which could easily have been chaotic and lonely had it not been for this amazing service. When Jennifer & JP were leaving Cork to finally bring Ella May home, all they were asked to do was to give a discreet donation to Bru Columbanus of any amount of their choosing.

Speaking about her time in Bru Columbanus Jennifer said; “Looking at Ella May now and seeing how she has developed into such a happy, gregarious lively little girl it can be hard to remember a time when she was so fragile. Looking back on our journey with her I know for certain that it would have been a million times harder for me, JP and our families to get through if we hadn’t received such wonderful care from Bru Columbanus.

“They were there for my family when we needed help the most and we could not be more grateful. The service they provide is invaluable and I cannot compliment the staff and volunteers enough. They gave us a sense of normalcy during a very emotional time. It means so much to be able to present them with this donation. I would like to thank all my colleagues in Sam McCauley’s for their help in collecting this money, it was a team effort and they really got behind it. A special thanks to everyone who donated, your generosity will ensure that Bru Columbanus can continue to do such wonderful work.”

Every year Sam McCauley’s Tralee chooses a deserving charity to whom they donate the proceeds of this collection.

Bru Columbanus accommodated 680 families in 2015, of which 263 were from Kerry. They are a small, independent charity completely reliant on donations and fundraising. There is an opportunity to support Bru Columbanus on Saturday, October 29, when a fancy dress Rock Night will be held at the Abbey Inn Tralee.

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