National Annual Awards 2020

We are delighted to announce the winners of this year's awards

Our Annual Awards are the Society’s way of recognising the contribution many of our members make within their families, local communities and MS Ireland.

Person of the Year 2020

Stephen Carroll & Family 

We are delighted to award Stephen and his Family ‘MS Person of the Year'

Stephen has primary progressive MS, leading to very serious and disabling MS issues.  Despite this, Stephen and his family are committed volunteers and Branch members who have supported our Branch and other members and have undertaken significant fundraising for our Branch.  Stephen’s his young daughters and his wife have stood beside him at all South Dublin events, at bag packing, quizzes and bucket collections, sacrificing their own leisure and sports pursuits.  When Stephen has been too unwell to attend, they have still been there, stepping in, often at short notice. Stephen has raised awareness of MS in his own community in Goatstown by organising local quizzes and events and coffee mornings. More widely, as a former Male Voice Member,  Stephen has been active in promoting support for MS Ireland at choir events. He is the moving force behind a planned “3 Choirs” fundraising and awareness raising event, involving an international Choir, the Irish Male Celtic Choir and a local Kilmacud/Goatstown Choir which was due to take place at Easter this year – it fell victim to Covid but Stephen is determined it will take place at another time.

Of particular note is Stephen’s support for other people with MS. Despite his own illness, disabling fatigue, pain and suffering, Stephen goes out of his way to visit, encourage and support other people with MS

Stephen has visited people with MS in nursing homes, even (or especially) those who can’t or don’t connect with others.  He has travelled when possible to see a member to Kiltipper Woods, which is not at all easy for him. It involves setting aside 2 days of rest (before and after to recover), the actual full day itself in getting ready, planning of transport – 3 days of effort all for a 1 hour visit to cheer up another person with MS. In this year of Covid 19 where everything is so uncertain and unsettling,   Stephen has fostered links via WhatsApp with other members of our Branch who are attending the same hospital as him, to share information about what’s involved in appointments, what entrances to use, where equipment is , what days infusions are being administered. He has used this to keep people in touch and share experiences.

Carer of the Year 2020 

We are delighted to award Kathleen Murphy Zaccagnini Carer of the Year for 2020.

Kathleen’s husband Paolo has primary progressive MS, leading to disabling MS issues.  Paolo is a wheelchair user and is heavily dependent on his wife for all the essential elements of daily care..  Kathleen and Paolo live on their own in a ground floor apartment in Sandymount which has access issues but they are not in a position to move.  As Paolo is Italian, they do not have the support of his wider family near at hand.  This means that Kathleen has a particularly acute and lonely role as carer. She is an older lady, a grandmother, whose family are abroad and who cannot travel to see them without great difficulty because of her caring role. (pre-covid, of course, there’s no travel now). Despite all of the stress and pressure she bears, Kathleen is a committed volunteer and has supported our Branch and other members and has assisted with our fundraising such as bucket collections and bagpacking.  This involves Kathleen getting everything ready to leave Paolo at home and arranging a carer to be there (at her own expense) so that she can come to help with our fundraising.  Kathleen does this (rather than give a donation in lieu) because she understands the need to raise awareness and to support other Branch members by her presence and participation.  

Of particular note is Kathleen’s support for other carers and people with MS, as noted above, whereby despite her own situation, she goes out of her way to attend events, incurring expenses to do so.  Kathleen is extremely self-effacing and modest about all she does.

Volunteer of the Year 2020

This year we are delighted to announce that the winner is Gerry Quinlan

Gerry Quinlan does not have MS*, and he does not have family members with MS. What he does have is a big generous heart and an awareness of MS through friends and colleagues. Gerry has fundraised for MS Ireland throughout the years, running the Dublin City marathon and taking part in 5-a-sides and quizzes to raise funds for MS Ireland, as far back at the 1980s.  The Total amount Gerry has raised over those years is lost in the mists of time, but the unwavering commitment to MS Ireland remains steadfast. In more recent years, Gerry organised and acted as Quizmaster in workplace quizzes which raised over €5,000 for South Dublin Branch and enabled us to start donating to the MSIF.  When his own very serious health issues brought about early retirement, Gerry joined the South Dublin Branch of MS Ireland, taking on the role of Treasurer and giving generously of his time and commitment when the transition to new accounts was taking place.  Ongoing health concerns meant that Gerry stepped back from the role of Treasurer but he remains on the Committee, participates in events and fundraising (pre-covid) and continues to organise quizzes which have raised a further €3,500 in recent years.  In these Covid times, Gerry has set questions and acted as Quizmaster for fun and free zoom quizzes for our Branch which have raised spirits and are extremely popular. 

Gerry has had a series of very severe and life-threatening health issues in the past 7 years,  Throughout the past 7 years and throughout his surgeries Gerry has supported this Branch, achieved the fundraising mentioned above, organised music for our events, run the quizzes. Even now, just weeks after the blow of the tragic early loss of his beloved brother to cancer, Gerry is organising our next fun and friendly quiz for 21 August and after that a joint fund raising quiz for the ECA with East Wicklow Branch. Congratulations to Gerry for his support to the South Dublin Branch all these years.