Miriam O’Callahan interviewed Jonathan Irwin in her programme yesterday. Jonathan founded the Jack and Jill Foundation in 1997 with his wife Mary O’Brien to provide home health care to severely sick children, following a personal tragedy in his family.


As I was listening to him talking to Miriam, I thought I was hearing echoes in my head so similar was what his family had gone through to what is happening to our family and so many others who have loved ones with severe acquired brain injury: the lack of real interest by the HSE; the negative attitude by the health professionals; the lack of funding being made available to relieve some of the pain; the warning given to them when they said they would take their severely sick child home that they would be under such pressure that it would break their marriage; their decision to do something positive themselves rather than ‘just’ giving out about the ‘system’.

The Jack and Jill Foundation is almost entirely financed through fundraising; they receive negligible amounts from the HSE.

Pádraig today agreed to get his picture taken tomorrow for a report on the lack of neuro rehab in one of Ireland’s national papers.

Isn’t that crazy?

In addition to your daily struggle to recover from a very, very serious injury with very little to no support from the ‘system’ you have to get your picture taken for the papers to campaign for change.

How many pictures have to be taken? Are they, like the answer, my friend, blowing in the wind? Or is anybody listening? Preferably someone who can help us to affect change?