FOLLOWING an unprecedented level of nominations for The Carers Association’s Carers of the Year Awards 2014, Josie Cullen from Letterkenny has been announced as Donegal’s Carer of the Year 2014. She was presented with her award at a special ceremony held at the Silver Tassie Hotel, Letterkenny (on Monday, 3/11/14).
Attending the awards ceremony were Judges Amanda Woods (from Mrs. Browns Boys), Gina Grant (last year’s winner) and Rose McBrearty (Family Carer Support Officer, The Carers Association). Also in attendance was Mayor of Donegal, Cllr. John Campbell and Joe McHugh TD Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources with Special Responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources.
Josie has been caring full time for her daughter Karen for 22 years since Karen took ill at the age of six. Karen has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, throat cancer and epilepsy and has numerous head surgeries over the years.
Josie’s husband Austin who nominated his wife for this award said “All of Josie’s time is devoted to our daughter, and she has no time to herself. Now that our daughter Karen is terminally ill, Josie still never complains. Our daughter comes first, Josie is an amazing person.”
Josie herself says that she could never have done it all without the vast support from her husband Austin and daughter Clare and son Graham. Austin says before Karen became unwell, things that you thought were most important and causing stress was actually quite insignificant. He says that having a child who is ill makes you look at life so differently and that his family is so grateful and blessed to have Karen in their lives.
The Carers of the Year Awards and Young Carer of the Year Award 2014, sponsored by Tunstall Emergency Response, celebrates the contribution of family carers across Ireland. Family carers provide high levels of care in the home to their loved ones, including older people, those terminally ill and with disabilities.
All entries receive a commemorative certificate and Donegal’s Carer of the Year 2014, Josie Cullen, will now attend a special ceremony which will be held in Dublin on November 12th honoring award recipients from across the country. One family carer will be chosen as Ireland’s Carer of the Year 2014 and the Young Carer of the Year 2014 will also be presented.
The awards ceremony will be hosted by broadcasters and patrons of The Carers Association Mary Kennedy and Marty Whelan.
“Family caring is a labour of love and these awards are an opportunity to celebrate family carers” said Rose McBrearty, The Carers Association, Donegal. “Donegal’s Carer of the Year Award recognises the dedication and enormous contribution of the region’s over 7,400 family carers. We are delighted to present this year’s well deserved award to Josie Cullen.”