Our precious time with mum at Marymount

The family of Liz O’Riordan have praised the staff and volunteers at Marymount, who cared for her in her final weeks. CHRIS DUNNE chatted to them ahead of a fundraising lunch this week
Our precious time with mum at Marymount
Liz O’Riordan with grandsons Freddie and Caolan, first day at St.Anthony’s. Chris.

IMAGINE a place where you are met and greeted on arrival, where the staff and volunteers are on first names with you, and where your family members can come and stay with you at any time, day or night.

“My mother, Liz O’Riordan, was in Marymount for pain management for three weeks before she died at 69, after being admitted in January this year,” says Liz’s daughter, Sarah McCarthy.

“She couldn’t be at home any more. Dad retired and he assisted mum so they could do things together. She carried on for as long as she could.”

When Liz went into Marymount Hospice, she was in a home from home, among friends.

The Friends of Marymount Hospice are in existence for almost 40 years. Their annual lunch, in its 14th year, is taking place on Friday, April 5 at the Rochestown Park Hotel, raising vital funds to maintain the excellent standard of services that the hospice provides.

“Mum had a life-debilitating condition for a number of years, multiple myeloma, affecting the blood,” says Sarah.

“She was always determined to stay alive until the youngest grand-kids, Freddie and Caolan, started school.”

Liz got her wish.

“That was a very proud day for her,” says Sarah.

“She passed away on the Tuesday before Valentine’s Day. The last three nights, her kidneys failed. My dad, my sister, and I, were with her in the room, a family room. We were all together with mum. It was lovely, like a hotel.

“The staff couldn’t do enough for us. If there were more beds needed for other family members to stay, there was no problem,” says Sarah.

“Mum had been attending Cork University Hospital for years. She was diagnosed young. The doctors and nurses did their best for her there with the resources they had.”

Liz and her family were treated like well-loved residents at Marymount.

“Everything is so dignified there,” says Sarah.

“It is so well run. My mother and her family were treated with the utmost respect. Mum was included in all the conversations regarding her care and her medications. Nobody was intrusive.

“We were all there, holding hands as the nurses explained to us mam’s treatment plan. They were extremely informative and kept us up to date at all times on mum’s condition. Their main priority was to ensure that mum was comfortable. That was of huge comfort to us,” says Sarah.

“We were all on first name terms with the staff and the volunteers. We’d be greeted like old friends when we arrived at Marymount every day. I’d hear, ‘Hi Sarah, how are you doing today?’ It was so lovely. The connection was made straight away.

“It is clear the fantastic training that each member of staff receives reflects the management. Mum was always in great hands in the best place possible. We were all very lucky.”

Sarah and her two siblings were always used to being near their mother.

“I only moved 10 minutes out the road from Passage when I got married.”

She could always stay close to her mother from beginning to the end.

“We really appreciate the great care and consideration that mum got in the three weeks in Marymount.

“We are really grateful to all the staff and the wonderful volunteers who work there to make every family feel loved and special.”

Sarah is a long-term supporter of the Friends of Marymount Lunch.

“It is a fabulous occasion that everyone enjoys,” says Sarah.

“Marymount deserve the public support for providing such a unique, caring facility for patients and their families.”

Mary Morrissey, fund-raising officer with Marymount, says Friends of Marymount are a dedicated and committed team of people, working tirelessly on behalf of the hospice.

“We are increasingly grateful and appreciative of the Friends’ time and effort in putting together such a fantastic day,” says Mary.

“While we are 70% Government-funded, we have to raise €3.5 million to maintain the current level of services that we are so proud of.

“The Friends of Marymount Lunch is always a fantastic day, with lots of fabulous spots from our generous sponsors up for grabs.

“Every year we experience massive support for the event enjoyed by all who attend, many of whom availed of the services of Marymount.”

The Friends of Marymount Lunch takes place on Friday, April 5, at the Rochestown Park Hotel, sponsored by Keanes Jewellers, Dunnes Stores, Dino Cregan and lots more, too numerous to mention.

There will be a best dressed lady and best dressed man — it is not only ladies who lunch! Goodie bags will also be given out to all the attendees at the lunch.

The champagne reception is sponsored by Dino Cregan and family before lunch at noon. Tickets cost €60.

There is still room to accommodate any number of people for tables of 10. Contact: Antoinette: 087-76885667 or Mary Morrissey: 021-4501201 — extension 302.

ABOUT MARYMOUNT

Marymount University Hospital is a health-care facility which provides two distinct services.

The Elderly Care Facility provides respite care, intermediate palliative care and continuing care for older people.

Marymount Hospice provides care to patients with progressive illness, both cancer and non-cancer, when pain or other symptoms need addressing.

Support is offered to families suffering a loss or who are bereaved.

Marymount is a designated Specialist Care Centre for the Cork/Kerry region serving a population of approximately 600,000 people.

Marymount University Hospital, Curraheen, Cork. Phone: 021-4501201.

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