Anam Cara sees 30% increase in demand for services as organisation launches ‘Month to Remember’ campaign

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

Quinn Family and Kelly Family from Co.Offaly, attend National Balloon Release remembering children who have died at family and friends remembrance event. Picture by Shane O'Neill / Copyright Fennell Photography 2013.
A number of Offaly families were in attendance when Anam Cara launched its national awareness campaign with their annual Balloon to Remember Release.

A number of Offaly families were in attendance when Anam Cara launched its national awareness campaign with their annual Balloon to Remember Release.

Families from across Ireland gathered in Athlone to release thousands of balloons, each one dedicated to the memory of a son or daughter who have died. Over 50 families came together for the event which is very unique as it brings together families from 32 counties in Ireland for one day to remember the child they’ve lost.

The event also launches Anam Cara’s “Month to Remember”, which continues until the end of November, and includes awareness building and fundraising; a national bag-pack taking place in Dunnes Stores on Saturday, 30th November; and the nationwide sale of the Anam Cara Balloon to Remember pin available to buy online at www.anamcara.ie.

With such a high number of fatal car accidents, increase in the number of suicides, many tragic and fatal illnesses and continual news of sudden death of all ages, the services Anam Cara offers families are experiencing severe demand. The organisation has seen an increase on average of 3 new families for every 10 attending their Parent Support Evening throughout the country. Research conducted just over a year ago shows that 6 out of every 10 people know someone who has experienced the death of a child, brother or sister.

Throughout the Island of Ireland approximately 2,500 families each year experience the death of a child between the ages of 0-44 years. For many families if the death of their child was unexpected, outside a hospital or hospice setting, they can fall outside the realms of bereavement support. Since its 2008 launch, Anam Cara has impacted the lives of more than 5,600 parents by offering a lifeline through online and face-to-face bereavement support services.

The impact of the death of a child, of any age, brings with it an intense grief that lasts far longer than society recognises. Anam Cara is there to offer appropriate support through the dark days because Anam Cara understands this unique grief and those parents who are a little further on their bereavement journey can reach a hand back to help newly bereaved parents.

Sharon Vard CEO commented: “There is no greater or sadder loss in life than that of a precious child. It goes against every law of nature. Only another bereaved parent really understands the intensity of the grief, how it can affect our emotional and physical wellbeing. Families have to face into tough milestone not just for the first year. We face milestones without our children for the rest of our lives. Without Anam Cara services, many families would be left isolated and facing these milestones alone.”

Anam Cara is a national organisation originally set up by bereaved parents to address the lack of support for bereaved families in Ireland after the death of their child. This annual campaign aims to highlight the invaluable and unique support Anam Cara provides bereaved parents as it is parents who have themselves lost a child running almost every aspect of the organisation. For more information on its services please visit www.anamcara.ie or information line 087 9637790 to find out more about our on line or face to face services.