Briege has learning difficulties and last year she was diagnosed with Leukodystrophy, a condition which causes a deterioration in muscle tone, predominantly the legs, affecting mobility and ability to perform physical tasks and daily activities.
This condition usually leads to a severe deterioration in the person’s health over the next number of years.
Briege’s mobility has become progressively worse resulting in her relying on the use of a wheelchair for mobilising outside of the home.
She is also finding it increasingly difficult to carry out tasks such as brushing her hair or putting on her shoes.
With mobility lessening and with an increased feeling of social isolation Briege had a wish to go to Lourdes to help her cope with the challenges she faces.
Thinking her dream was unachievable due to her disability and financial circumstances Briege expressed this wish to Eileen Canavan from the Crisis Response and Home Treatment Team SHSCT.
Eileen wasted no time in trying to make this wish become a reality and negotiated a place for Briege on the Armagh Diocese Pilgrimage trip.
The next task was to secure funds for the trip.
Eileen approached local charity iCare with the wish request. On hearing of Briege’s plight, iCare was delighted to help fund £625 to cover the costs of accommodation and flights for the trip to Lourdes, an amount which Briege was not able to afford.
Briege was thrilled and travelled as part of the Armagh Diocese Pilgrimage to Lourdes in May.
Whilst there she was lucky enough to meet Archbishop Eamon Martin and had the chance to hold his ring and necklace!
She also went to the Lourdes baths, lit candles and received a blessing of the sick from a Priest. During her time there she made some very special friends who kept her comfortable and helped her to manage her pain.
The impact of the trip has been very positive for Briege who has expressed that she felt blessed to be given the opportunity.
The trip to Lourdes has really been beneficial in helping Briege feel more positive and determined about her condition.
Briege gave special thanks to iCare for supporting her with her very special trip. She said ‘The trip to Lourdes and the people who looked after me has changed my life, I will never forget it’.
The iCare charity originally founded by Homecare Independent Living (HCIL) employees in 2010 is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals, groups and communities across Ireland.
It has raised over £300,000 since its inception and delivered over 300 iCare Wishes.
Everything iCare does is designed to lift hearts, do good and make a real difference. For more information on the work of the charity please visit the iCare website at www.icarecharity.com