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Hospice heroes honoured in advance of Sunflower Days

Author: Linda Pearson
06 June 2017
  • John Duff picking up a posthumous Hospice Hero award on behalf of his late wife Josie from RTE's Mary Kennedy, with daughters Fiona Moran (l) and Mary McKenna

Josie Duff, who died tragically in January of this year, was honoured posthumously with a Sunflower Hero award to recognise her outstanding contribution to Ardee Hospice Homecare.

RTE’s Mary Kennedy presented the award to Josie’s husband John at an awards ceremony.

The presentation took place at the Mansion House Dublin at the launch of national Hospice Sunflower Days taking place this year on Friday, June 9th and Saturday, June 10th. 23 other heroes also received a ‘hero’ award.

“Hail, rain or snow she would be there, always willing to help,” John Duff, 81 said about his late wife Josie. “I’m thrilled that someone is doing something, she was so good.”

John’s daughter Mary McKenna spoke of her mother Josie: “She is there from the beginning of the Ardee Hospice. She was always helping out, any charity. It is such a pity she is not here to get it herself. It is a shame, it really is a shame.  It is lovely for us to accept it.”

In their nomination Ardee Hospice Homecare said: “In loving memory of Josie a dear friend and long term member of the Committee. A tireless worker, who was tragically killed in January 2017. Forever remembered.”

Speaking at the launch about Josie, Mary Kennedy said: “It would be nice of us to spare a moment to remember with compassion and with sadness Josie Duff, who was a wonderful, wonderful , volunteer on behalf of the hospice in Ardee and who very tragically died with her cousin in a traffic accident in January.

“It is so, so nice and I do admire the courage of her family, her husband John and her daughters who have come here for Josie. I would just like to take our condolences at this time. It must have been a very difficult few months and we do acknowledge and are very, very grateful for you coming and also for the wonderful work Josie did over the years.”

Josie was among twenty three volunteers honoured as ‘Sunflower Hospice Heroes’ at the special ceremony in the Mansion House Dublin for their contribution to hospice care.

Among the Hospice Heroes honoured were

  •   Mary Callanan, mother of Tipperary hurler Seamus Callanan, who has been involved in North Tipperary Hospice since it’s foundation in 1990. Described as ‘one in a million with a fantastic personality and the most infectious laugh’.
  • Ardee Hospice Homecare nominated Josie Duff RIP. The group said: “In loving memory of Josie a dear friend and long term member of the Committee. A tireless worker, who was tragically killed in January 2017. Forever remembered.”
  •  Residents of Loughan House Open Centre, Cavan who grow sunflowers annually for North West Hospice.

Sunflower Days 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 9th and 10th 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. 

Pat Quinlan, Chief Executive Officer of Milford Care Centre and Chair of the Voluntary Hospices Group, said: 

“People matter and Hospice Care improves the lives of many who have a life-limiting condition in allowing them to live their lives as fully as possible right up to the moment of death. Hospice care is also about supporting families and loved ones up to and through bereavement in what is clearly a most challenging period in their lives. Thousands of people receive hospice care annually and funds raised through Sunflower Days helps meet this growing need. Hospices therefore are more reliant than ever on the goodwill of wonderful supporters and volunteers.

 

“We are asking people to please support their local hospice service so that patients and families can get help at a time of greatest need.  Sunflower Days is a vital source of funding for local hospice services and every Euro received can make a difference so please donate or if you have a few hours to spare please consider volunteering for your local hospice on the day.”

IHF Andy Caffrey, Acting CEO said volunteers are the iron will that keep local hospices going.  

“Local hospices fill a need in society. Their impact is immeasurable. Hospices rely on public goodwill to deliver their services. Hospice Sunflower Days is a countrywide opportunity to help your local group mind your community. We are very proud to be coordinating Hospice Sunflower Days for the past 27 years,” he said.

People can support their local hospice service on June 9th and 10th 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. 


For further information on how to volunteer with your local hospice service for Hospice Sunflower Days visit www.sunflowerdays.ie

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