I have worked with Michael Greene, Chairman of CRY since the late 80s. I was his PA in HomeBond. I was working with Michael when his son Peter died suddenly in 1996 and saw the heartbreak and devastation it caused. When Michael and Marie started up CRY I did the paperwork & admin to help.
It became personal to me on 22nd of May 2002 when my niece Jenny O’Riordan died suddenly. Jenny (Jenny Jewel to the family) was my sister Kate and her husband Jerry’s only daughter.
Jenny had spent one summer in HomeBond – she called it her ‘summer job’ in her gap year. Michael got to know Jenny well and he supported her after she returned to college and completed her Masters. She went on to work with KPMG (now known as BearingPoint) and spent two years there as a Consultant and loved every minute of it making great friends. She particularly loved the location and couldn’t have been any happier there – unless they could have moved closer to Grafton Street for the endless shopping. BT must have had a drop in cosmetic sales that summer!
Jenny died suddenly on 22nd May 2002 from Cardiomyopathy on her father’s 50th birthday. I will never forget the call – I was just in the door from a holiday and Kate called to say Jenny had been taken to Blanchardstown Hospital. I collected Kate and we drove to the hospital but I think I knew at the time that she would be dead when we arrived, she was. Jenny had died while sitting with her best friend Sinead O’Brien– looking at booking flights for a holiday.
Jenny’s sudden death devastated all of our lives but especially Kate, Jerry and her brother JJ – she was 26, beautiful, bright, kind and had so much to live for. Her friends and colleagues were heartbroken too. Time helps you to live with it but you never forget. Nothing is ever the same and no family event or occasion happens without you knowing someone is missing. Kate now works as a Volunteer with the Charity and will support families affected as she has been.
After Jen’s death Deirdre Hanley of BearingPoint visited Kate at home to sympathise and told her they wanted to do something positive to remember Jen – after that visit we discussed it and Michael met with Deirdre Hanley and CRY’s website was born – BearingPoint still generously host our website and the family take great comfort from that.
I look after the day-to-day admin at the office in the CRYP Screening Centre in Tallaght dealing with families who approach us for help, support or to offer to fundraise. I understand a little where they are coming from – every story is different and every time I take a call from a bereaved family I understand a little of where they are coming from.
My own three boys are patients in the CRYP Screening Centre so I understand the concerns of a parent who needs to come to the Centre for screening and the peace of mind that comes with that visit.
Dealing with a bereaved family does not get any easier with time but I hope we are helping families to get some peace of mind and to come to terms with their loss.