Echo Fundraiser: Suzanne House offers respite to children with life-limiting conditions

Echo Fundraiser: Suzanne House offers respite to children with life-limiting conditions

By Maurice Garvey

Suzanne House, a community children’s respite service located in the heart of Tallaght, sees families of all types, sizes and backgrounds pass through its doors. The families have all one thing in common – they have a child with complex medical needs or life-limiting conditions.

Relatives of children at Suzanne House take considerable comfort in the fact that their children are being cared for in a home-like environment, which is safe, secure and comfortable, with the reliable hands of an expert nursing team.

Daisy Eva and Leon

In February 1972 Suzanne, a healthy and happy baby, was born to her parents Vera and Brendan. She lived a full and busy childhood, loving school, along with piano, Irish dancing, Girl Guides and swimming. However, at the age of 10 Suzanne was diagnosed with Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis, a measles-related virus that erupts in one in one million children. Within a matter of weeks Suzanne was completely incapacitated.

The choice was then to leave her in hospital, or take her home and for her parents to learn all the necessary skills to facilitate her new condition. Ruled by their hearts and not their heads, Suzanne’s parents brought her home at Christmas 1982. With the guidance of the team in Our Lady’s Hospital Crumlin, her parents took on her intricate and 24/7 medical regime. There were no respite services available at the time.

Through a fortunate sequence of events Vera and Brendan were put in contact with a service in Islandbridge, Dublin 8 where they met Sheila Murphy and Anne Phelan.

This meeting changed their lives and the many tasks of caring for Suzanne on their own. Suzanne began to attend Islandbridge on a daily basis under the care of Sheila and her staff.

Sadly, Suzanne passed away on October 10, 1985.

Thanks to the work of Brother Lawrence Kearns and Sheila Murphy, it was realised that a special place for children like Suzanne was needed. That vision became a reality and Suzanne House opened in June 1986 to provide care, support and respite services for children who are medically fragile or have a life-limiting condition.

Sixteen children attend Suzanne House annually.

THE Echo Newspaper will host its first annual Christmas fundraising event on Thursday, November 30 and Friday, December 1.

Our chosen charity partners for 2017 are Tallaght Cancer Support Group and Suzanne House, with all proceeds being divided between these two local charities.

Echo staff will take part in a cycling challenge over the two-day event, which will take place in The Square shopping centre on November 30 and in the Tallaght Cancer Support Group office on Main Street, Tallaght, on December 1.

Donate on The Echo’s charity Go fund Me page HERE

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