“I AM absolutely delighted. It has given me the lift that I didn’t think I needed,” admitted Lucy Moran, who this week was named as Carlow Carer of the Year for 2019.
The busy mum of three from Ballyloughan, Bagenalstown has two sons with special needs, making life a real challenge for the family. However, Lucy takes each day in her stride, finding resilience and patience to provide the best possible care to Joey (11), who has Down Syndrome, and six-year-old Corey, who has autism.
“They are my children,” she says, with love and a real sense of humility, to any plaudits that might praise her devotion to them.
The Netwatch Carer of the Year Awards aim to shine a light on the contribution of the 355,000-plus family carers in Ireland, who provide care in the home to loved ones.
Lucy was announced the Co Carlow winner this week and was presented with her award by Mick Galwey, brand ambassador and regional sales manager for Netwatch.
Lucy will now go forward to the National Carer of the Year gala awards ceremony in Dublin on Sunday 22 November.
“Joey has Down Syndrome and is non-verbal and is not fully toilet trained yet, so after five years we are still working on that, and Corey has autism and is non-verbal and would have an awful lot of sensory issues,” explains Lucy.
Joey attends St Laserian’s NS, Carlow and loves school, while Corey has this year started in Saplings, Goresbridge, where he is getting the one-to-one support he needs.
“We are really lucky with the support we have. I know there are so many parents out there whose children have life-limiting conditions; children that may have to be peg-fed or dealing with huge medical issues. Thankfully, our children are very healthy in that way,” says Lucy.
Lucy is married to Kevin Meaney and works part-time looking after the accounts for their business Bóthar Drilling Ltd. She is also treasurer of Down Syndrome Carlow.
Taking her sons to their many medical appointments, running their busy home and working around the many different challenges that Joey and Corey face are all part of Lucy’s hectic daily schedule.
She is also very determined when it comes to accessing the care and supports her sons need and she has found that her administrative skills have helped her to “fight for them”.
Lucy says there are days when everything can seem like an uphill battle, when all you can do is “solider on”. She understandably admits there are days when “you wouldn’t have any energy left”, while she also has “a lot of fears for the future”.
However, there are also those special moments that can give her a lift.
“When Joey gets off the bus from school, he’s all smiles and full of hugs and kisses. Corey, you have to work harder to get that, but when they do come and you really see him … that is something that would raise your soul,” she says.
Lucy and Kevin’s eldest child is 12-year-old Shona, while her mother Therese is also a constant support.
“We call Shona our third parent,” smiles Lucy. “We try to protect her from it and make her life as normal as possible. It’s not easy, but we try to have our girls’ nights out and try to have that time with her, too,” she adds.
“When Joey was born, a nurse in Kilkenny said to me: ‘this will toughen you up’ and she wasn’t wrong. I have a lot more respect for the caring industry now.”