Sitting on a plane again, back to Dublin.
Pádraig is doing fine at home and none of us will have to go for this long drive out and then back to visit him in Dun Laoghaire (as much as I like Dun Laoghaire:) for a day or two.
I’ve been thinking of three things to do for An Saol, to kick it into action.
I promised myself to launch An Saol in January 2016. That was two years ago. Now, whether it’s going to be in January, or around January won’t make that much of a difference, but I think it would be nice to have a launch event to let everybody know that it’s there and what it is about.
At this event, I would want to show what can be achieved by persons with severe brain injuries with the right support. I would want to make the point that persons with severe brain injuries have the same right as anybody else to live their lives, in dignity and with respect. I would like to celebrate the efforts by so many that made An Saol a reality (music, song, poetry, dance,…). I would like to do this some time in, or shortly after, January.
(2) Therapy Offering (The Sara Walsh Therapy Services)
An Saol has received an extremely generous donation from the parents of Sara Walsh. We got to know Sara and her family in Beaumont and became friends. She went to Pforzheim earlier this year and made tremendous progress. An Saol will offer therapy services for persons with severe brain injuries in her memory. These services will, in the first instance, be led by one qualified and experienced therapist and supported by volunteer therapists (either qualified or student therapists).
We need a job description. We need to circulate that description. We need to interview. We need to employ the most suitable person. I would hope to have that person in place by January.
While An Saol will start offering support and outpatient therapy services, the aim is to find (or build) a suitable building with enough space for day care, in-patient care, and respite care (with a total of around 10 beds).
This will require a significant effort in fundraising and lobbying of government agencies. We will need one (or a small group of) coordinator(s) and many people to spread the word. We will need to set specific goals for the next year and more general goals for the next 3-5 years. We will need to identify and plan fundraising activities.
I thought it might be a good idea to involve the Irish-American community and have started to plan two cycles to raise awareness of Pádraig’s case in the US, and raise the need to establish adequate therapy services and care for persons with severe acquired brain injuries. Both would require a significant organisational and PR effort, and could involve actors, musicians, politicians, and, above all, US-based cycling clubs.
Cycle 1: From Los Angeles/Hollywood to San Francisco/Nappa Valley (approximately one week around Easter)
Cycle 2: From Boston to Brewster/Cape Cod (a few days to arrive on 29 June 2016)
In addition to the above, An Saol will need support for its infrastructure, for example a webmaster, a volunteer coordinator, and a PR/Social Media coordinator, a person or persons working on legal, social, and medical issues.
There have been many who have offered their help for An Saol. It’s time to get going.
If you are interested in any of the plans outlined above (or have your own ideas), let’s meet up. Go to this website to let me know which date would suit you best. If you want to help but cannot meet on any of these dates, or are not in Dublin or Ireland, let me know too.