Friday 21 October 2016

Homeless volunteer who had house repossessed appeals for funds ahead of chemotherapy treatment

Edel and Bryan Campbell
Edel and Bryan Campbell

A man whose wife has been helping the homeless since she was a child is raising money to get her a special bed so she can sleep pain-free.

Bryan Campbell's wife Edel (37) begins chemotherapy this week for breast cancer. She also has the painful rheumatic condition fibromyalgia.

The couple, who are both 42, founded North County Outreach, which provides hundreds of hot meals each week to the homeless in Dublin city centre.

"Edel first helped the homeless when she was a child and we have both had spells of being homeless too. Now I want to help her be as comfortable as possible," said Bryan.

"We had our house in Castledermot, Co Kildare, taken off of us because we lost our jobs and fell behind with the mortgage."

The couple and their children Erin (8), Ben (4) and three-year-old Jake are renting in Balbriggan after losing their home three years ago.

Edel said: "When we moved to Balbriggan I wanted to give something back and I began volunteering with a homeless group.

"Then we set up our own group and helped families who were struggling.

"We set up North County Outreach last October.

"The previous year, I volun- teered in soup kitchens in Dublin and realised that there were two nights a week that a soup kitchen was needed outside the Central Bank on Dame Street, so we began doing those two nights."

Edel also revealed that just before Christmas 2014 she posted Facebook saying she had extra toys that she would give to a family in need.

"I had worked in AIB for 10 years and Bryan had a solid job for 22 years. We went from a very healthy wage coming in to being on social welfare and disability. We knew that Christmas is a burden and people can struggle," she said.

"We got hundreds of responses. We got an insight into people and their struggle and we found ourselves giving Santa a hand out that year and the next year."

Bryan said he was in awe of his wife. "She's done all of this while she's in chronic pain due to fibromyalgia. She also has asthma and deep vein thrombosis," he said.

"We've spent a lot of time in and out of hospital and we realised, even before the cancer diagnosis, that she sleeps much better in the hospital bed."

Bryan worked out that he needs about €4,000 to buy the ideal bed and mattress for his wife.

"I want it so Edel can have a better quality of life and not wake up in such pain," he said.

Bryan's gofundme page is A Bed For Edel.

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