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Inspirational teenager urges public to salute family carers

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Jack O’Donovan, who completed an extraordinary 5km fundraiser, celebrates with family and friends in Swords, Co Dublin. Photo: Mark Stedman

Jack O’Donovan, who completed an extraordinary 5km fundraiser, celebrates with family and friends in Swords, Co Dublin. Photo: Mark Stedman

Jack O’Donovan, who completed an extraordinary 5km fundraiser, celebrates with family and friends in Swords, Co Dublin. Photo: Mark Stedman

A determined teenager who completed his own milestone by crossing the finishing line in his quest to raise funds for charity wants the public to help salute family carers who go beyond the call of duty.

Jack O'Donovan (17), from Swords, Co Dublin, was cheered on by Irish rugby legend Mick Galwey on Saturday when he completed a 5km trek over two weeks to raise funds for Family Carers Ireland and the Central Remedial Clinic.

Wheelchair

He is a quadriplegic and also has cerebral palsy that has left him confined to a wheelchair.

Despite this, he managed to walk the distance with the aid of a walker and friends and family to raise funds for the charities.

His family is now asking that carers be honoured for the valuable love and care they give family members through the Family Carers Ireland's (FCI) 2020 Carer of the Year Awards.

His mother Lynsey was awarded the North Dublin Carer of the Year award last year for the unstinting care she has given Jack over the years.

The annual awards ceremony, sponsored by Netwatch, will be held at Dublin's Westin Hotel on November 6 in a scaled-back version hosted by RTE broadcasters and patrons Mary Kennedy and Marty Whelan.

In the meantime, the association, representing 355,000 family carers across Ireland, is seeking nominations from the public to "recognise, celebrate and shine a light on the remarkable contribution" of Ireland's network of carers.

FCI spokeswoman Catherine Cox said the nominations were open to all carers, regardless of age or whom they are caring for, as long as they are family members.

"It's really about people who go beyond the normal care and call of duty and give that unconditional love and care," she told the Herald.

"Maybe it's someone who has put their job or career on hold," she added.

The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have been hard on everyone but especially challenging for people caring for vulnerable loved ones at home when services and support have been scaled back due to the crisis.

"Now, more than ever, they deserve to be recognised and celebrated for their enormous contribution to our society," she added.

Nomination forms are available at familycarers.ie