Oh my God, the day is here. 😱 Today is the day that me, mom and DEBRA Ireland find out if we’ve won a Hidden Heros Award or not!!! 🤗

Ok so 2 weeks ago Judith from DEBRA Ireland called to say that they had nominated me for an award and I was shortlisted!! Can you believe it?? Me, shortlisted for an award. 😱

I was so honoured to get my People of the Year Award a few years back but to be nominated again is just amazing!! People are so thoughtful. I’ve had such a bad year that it was exactly what I needed to hear. 

2 days later Jude called again…this time with the news that MOM had also been nominated and she had also been shortlisted. 🤗 

Me and Sebrina were driving when we got the call (thankfully I wasn’t actually driving!!) and we both just burst!! I grabbed Sebrina’s hand and we were both screaming with joy!!

For 32 years mom has been caring for me and doing everything in her power to keep me well. But she has never got any recognition for it. She deserves this award more than anyone…including me!! I think she deserves an award every day!! 

Now I had the tough task of telling people without mom finding out!! 😂 I decided to keep it a little secret from mom because I knew she wouldn’t sleep for the whole 2 weeks before the awards!! She’d have many a sleepless night, worrying away!! And I wanted her to enjoy the day, not dread it!! 🙄

In my excitement I immediately rang my aunty Angela, moms sister who we’re very close to and I knew she’d be as happy as I was at moms award. But she missed my call and mom was away for the day so I knew when she’d see my missed call she’d panic!! 😱 Oh no!!! She rang back quite quickly and I was right, she thought something happened me and I couldn’t call mom!! 😂 Oh God, the drama of it all!!! 😂😂

But I told her the exciting news, and she was thrilled!! She was delighted I was getting an award but everyone felt the same, that mom so deserves this award. I told dad that evening and begged him not to tell her. I told Catherine that weekend and she was delighted for us both too – although the sad part was that she was away for the actual awards day. 😪 

So I’d told everyone and begged them all not to say a word. Now for the next 2 weeks I pretended it wasn’t happening cuz I was terrified I’d let something slip!! 😂

Mom had her dress sorted and I had bought a beautiful new green dress. I had arranged for the girls from the local hairdressers Ego Boost to come up and do our hair that morning. (She didn’t suspect a thing!!) #Winning!! 🤗

We had also decided to do bandages on the Sunday night to save us from getting up extra early Monday morning. If I had done bandages on Monday morning not only would I have been wrecked from it but I would have been in agony too. I wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere then

So, the day is here…

We got up at 8am Monday morning. The girls from Ego Boost were coming at 9am. Looking back, I should have done my make-up before they came but that was too early for me!! 😴 

Mom was getting a blow dry and I was getting a messy side bun. Didn’t take too long, we were finished by 9.45am and I loved it. I’m lucky, they always do exactly what I want and Pam and the girls are very good to me. 😘

Anyway, the girls were just gone out the door when Sebrina arrived, very kindly with 2 Costa’s in her hand. 😍 I wasn’t even dressed but I knew she was there to help me. 

We went down to the room to get me dressed and I was slightly (just slightly!) panicking. It was gone 10am and we were to be leaving by 10.30…and I still hadn’t told mom about her award!!! 😂

Ok, it was time!! Sebrina was busy helping me with my dress and I called mom down to my room. I couldn’t let her go to the hotel not knowing!! 😳 She’d really have killed me then!!! 😂

Mom came down with her hair done and her dress on, she looked beautiful. I told her she looked lovely and Sebrina said “You’d think you were getting an award”! She said “Sure why would I be”?, and I said “Maybe because you’re an Unsung Hero”!! I then said “Today’s your day mom, you’re getting an award for being an Unsung Hero”! She wouldn’t believe me, she kept saying “You’re messing, you’re messing”!! 😂

It took ages to convince her. I even had to put my arm across her to keep her in the room!! 

Would you believe me if I told you we were in the car at 10.45 – not too bad!! 👏🏻 We were dressed and ready to go!! I had to put on my make-up in the car. It was a nightmare but Sebrina helped me! How it turned out OK I’ll never know!! 😳

Sebrina did help me. But she also fitted in taking photos of the flower in her hair and i was busy photobombing it!!! 😂😂

We somehow made it there in one piece and my make-up was actually on my face and not on my dress!!! 😂 

We got to the hotel and it was mad busy. There was people and cars everywhere. I think the Dublin team had stayed there the night before so there was lots of people wanting to see them. Plus there was over 200 people there for the awards. 😱 We met my aunt and uncle and the girls from DEBRA – we were all so excited!! 🤗

We had to take some photos on the red carpet…We all clean up well I think!! 😚

We got to the reception and we were all offered a glass of wine. 🍷 But I couldn’t have any (even just to calm my nerves!!) because of my poxy Ketamine – that ruins all my nights out 😤 

Suddenly there was people coming over to mom and I asking us to go outside for photos and interviews. Ooh that’ll be nice to get some good photos of us. 

We got asked the usual questions…”What is EB”?, “How are you affected”?, “How often do you do bandages”?, “How do you feel to be nominated”?… I always feel very important having tape recorders in front of me!! 😂 

There was easily 3 or 4 photographs taking photos of all the nominees and well known Irish faces. I took some family photos (minus Catherine!) and then I was in some photos with Miriam O’Callaghan and Sean, another nominee. It was lots of fun. Plus the sun was shining which made it all the better! ☀️

We all went back inside and again I was pulled aside to do an interview with the six one news. Somehow mom escaped all these interviews!! 😳 But me, I had to work for my award!!! 😱😂 

I missed all the fun of the reception and when I was finished my interviews we were heading into the dining room – it was beautiful. 😍 We were seated all together and close to the stage. 

The lovely food quickly arrived. It was a goats cheese tart/salad, steak or salmon for the mains. I have to say I can’t eat the steak (or salmon for that matter) but the steak looked yummy. It was a slab of meat, Sebrina struggled to cut through it!! 

During the meal I had to go outside. I was really struggling with the heat and I had to take my medicine. My dress was so big that it took ages to find my tube!! 😂 

We were coming back in and we met Lorraine Keane! 😳 I have to say she’s so lovely and kind and so bubbly!! I immediately warmed to her! Somehow she knew who I was!! 😱 How is that??!! I loved her dress too, it was gorgeous on her. 

We were going back in and Mary Kennedy was up on stage getting ready to start. Oooh here we go…😱

There was 2 awards given out in each category. So there was a “Hero” award and a “Special Recognition” award. But there was so many amazing people who had done amazing things in the room. Lots of awards to give out but I couldn’t wait to hear all their stories. ❤️ 

There was also a “Charity Hero” award. I think about 10 charities were nominated and it was then down to a Twitter vote to decide the winner. Immediately I could see Judith and Cheryl get on their phones to get everyone they knew to vote for us. I put it up on my page too but there was some big charities up to win so I was nervous. 😔

There was so many amazing winners up. There was a young boy about 11 years old who was with his uncle one day. While there, this uncle went into a diabetic coma and he called 911 and saved his uncle’s life. 

There was a little girl about 7 years old who was receiving the “Lifetime” award on behalf of her mom who has passed away recently but before she died she set up a service for young children who have parents who are dying. 

Another man got an award for setting up a taxi service for people who want to commit suicide. Drivers are trained in safeTALK and ASIST. 

Another lady has set up her own company in Waterford called Wigworld. She helps many people to have lost their hair either because of cancer or alopecia or other medical related problems. 

It quickly came around to moms catagory…Unsung Hero!!! 😱 Oh my God, this is too much!! I can’t cope. I’m so nervous for her!! 🙄 But all she has to do is go up, accept the award, take a photo and come back to the table. Sounds easy, right?! 🙏🏻 

Mary Kennedy talks about her for a bit before she goes up for the award. She says that mom has cared for me all my life, that we have always worked as a team and that although she is quiet (really?!), she has superhuman strength…which she has!! 😍 

And here is PATRICIA FOGARTY!!!!! 😱😱👏🏻👏🏻😘😘 Oh God, I could burst with pride or just burst into tears!!! 😅 This is the most amazing moment. I want to take this in, I want to remember every move she makes because she deserves more than anyone I’ve ever known!! I hope she knows that!! 😍

At some point between awards they announced that the Twitter vote was going really well. But because there was such big names up there I didn’t expect to see DEBRA Ireland but…there we were…IN THE TOP 4!!! 😱😱😱

Soon after that the award “Courage over Adversity” is up. Oh wait, that’s me!!! 😳😳 Oh my God, am I ok?? Is my dress, make-up and hair all ok????!!! 

Again Mary spoke about me before I went up. She said that I was born with EB but I had done it all, Leaving Cert, college and I worked in PTSB too. She talked about my bandages and how painful they were but I always kept going. 

If I’m honest I was half listening. I was more looking at the ramp up to the stage and wondered how in the name of God was I going to get up?! It looked quite steep. I could easily roll back or someone could tip me off the edge of it!!! 😱😱 I was suddenly panicking. 

I was snapped out of my worrying though when I heard my name being called. Ok, stay calm, here we go!! 😰 Sebrina brought me up to the stage but as we turned to go up the ramp (😱) I could see my uncle Sean running after us!! Ok, he’s here, he’ll help us 🙏🏻 

He took over and in one swift push we were going up the ramp. I think I closed my eyes half way up!! 😂 But I got there and I somehow managed to smile for the camera!! Get me back to my table where it’s safe now please!!! 🙄😂

I was one of the last awards given out on the day so I thought we were finished. But no, there was more to come yet!! The results of the twitter vote were next  Oooh who’s gonna win. We were probably the smallest charity in the top 4 so…

As they we talking about the Twitter vote and as they were opening the envelope I was saying to Judith, “This has been a great day, we’ve done really well to get our 2 awards…”. Then out of nowhere I heard “And the winner is…DEBRA Ireland”!!!!! 😱😱😱😱 Whhhhaaaattt???

Hugs all round!!!! 💙💙💙

After we all calmed down (!!!) we mingled for a little bit and took some photos. I got chatting to loads of people including Alan Hughes (who remembered me from when I was on with them in Open House) and I spoke to the character that is Joanne O’Riordan!! I ❤️ her!!! She’s just brilliant. 😂 I could have stayed chatting to her for hours!!! 😍

I had to get some photos with everyone in front of the Hidden Heros board!! 

Wow!! What an amazing day. A day I’ll definitely never forget. 

It was an absolute prilivage to be surrounded by such amazing and inspiring people. 
Well done to all the winners. 🤗🤗🤗


One thought on “And The Winner Is…

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