MS Person of the Year – Mairin Harris
Nominated by Mark Mitchell MS Ireland’s East Wicklow Branch.
Involvement with MS Society: Vice chair of EWB. On the fundraising committee, a former chair of the EWB, among others.
Mairin has been the most dedicated branch member of MS Ireland's East Wicklow Branch, and was a member of the original Bray branch.Mairin attends every flag day from Bray to Greystones to Wicklow and Arklow, without fail.She always attends our coffee mornings, AGM's, annual lunch's, Summer BBQ's, and all our branch outings. She even attended the Aras and met Michael D himself.She always supports our MS calendar and Christmas cards faithfully. Mairin tends to hide from the highlights and does not participate in committees.
However she makes up for this by her total dedication to the branch. Living in Arklow, Mairin was instrumental in setting up the Friday coffee morning meet ups which has been running very successfully for the past few years and over twenty PwMS in Arklow attend faithfully.
Mairin is incredibly supportive to everyone in the community at the coffee mornings and on Zoom due to covid. Mairin likes to get involved and is a great listener offering support by being there and giving people the space to feel comfortable to talk about their MS.
Mairin never misses the support groups and her contribution stands out a long way. Mairin has a positive attitude and has touched the lives of so many people by showing she cares.
A very worthy candidate for the MS Person of the Year Award.
As already mentioned Mairin is a lovely woman always supports coffee mornings, branch meet ups flag days, AGM, lunches, and always with a smile and caring way. Shows great interest to newcomers advising people of different ways to cope with any worries they may have with their ailment her dry sense of humour takes me by surprise all the time she well deserves this honour of MS Person of the Year
Carer / Helper of the Year – Helen Binions
Helen cares for Her husband Clinton Binions.
Helen has cared for her husband Clinton since his diagnosis in 2005.
Clinton was a dairy farmer in Ballyhad in Co. Wicklow. Two years post diagnosis, Clinton had to use a wheelchair and it was a significant adjustment adapting to life as a wheelchair user.
He introduced me (Mark Mitchell) to the ECDL course by distance learning c/o National Learning Network in Bray. I asked Clinton was it tough going, his reply was, “Well, I was a farmer and I managed, so if I can do it, anyone can.”
Helen oversaw her entire house being adopted for Clinton and drove him to every branch committee meeting, every coffee morning, AGM, annual lunch, all our branch outings and every flag day etc. Helen cared for him single-handedly all of the time though there is wonderful family support. Over the years Clinton has had health issues and Helen always stood by Clinton bring him to all his hospital appointments.
Clinton played badminton on winning teams with Helen until his MS. Helen always a great carer - worked with Riding for the Disabled for over 30yrs He drove for as long as he could and said giving up driving was one of the hardest things. Then Helen brought him everywhere for his beloved bluegrass/country and gospel bands playing all over Ireland all year round as well as all the Wheel-chair Association and MS meetings and functions.
She cared for 5 grandchildren on and off during this time - always cheerful and loving no matter how tough times were. She kept Clinton swimming for as long as possible in Ireland and abroad. During Covid she has kept him in touch with his family through zoom. Always imaginative and finding new ways of making life more interesting for Clinton. Married 51 years this year
From Martina O’Sullivan, EWB Treasurer:
I met Helen years ago when attending yoga in Shankill she used to bring Clinton to and back from the classes and we go for a cuppa afterwards she was always in good form and she would join in the conversation, comes up with some good fundraising ideas like wear your wedding dress for MS and even when she had a significant birthday she asked people to give donations to MS society. Helen deserves this award as she is always thinking of others rather than herself, love the way herself and Clinton enjoy. Always doing things together they go on trips away to country music festivals which is brilliant.
Volunteer of the Year – Willie Doherty
Nominated by Jackie Browne, Chairperson of the Donegal Branch
Involvement with MS Society – Willie has been involved with the Donegal Branch for over 40 years as fundraiser extraordinaire and has served on the Welfare Committee for many years helping those in need with MS.
Willie has dedicated his life to helping those with MS raising tens of thousands of euro to support those with MS. Willie turned 90 years young this year and is as dedicated as ever.
Willie organises church gate collections in 12 parishes, gathers many thousands worth of sponsorship for greens and prizes in the golf classics, sold hundreds of boxes of MS Christmas cards and got prizes sponsored for the MS Christmas dinner. Willie is well known sitting outside Tescos selling tickets etc. He went to Lourdes as a carer on 3 occasions. It gives me great pride to nominate Willie to be considered for the volunteer awards – he is one of life’s genuine, caring people and a true champion in helping those with MS all across Donegal and further afield. Willie also won an award from the ME4U Volunteer awards in Donegal.