Original Newsletter posted here:
We hope you have all had a wonderful summer!
As you’ll see in this newsletter, it has been a busy summer for us as well! There have been so many fantastic events and activities and we have made steady progress in sustaining Dominic’s therapy and activity. This is all very encouraging and we urge you to stay involved and keep in touch. To start off, here’s a short note from Alec Morrogh, Dominic’s father:
“It cannot be overestimated how much the support of this community of friends mean to Tara and Dominic’s family. Dominic has been sent on a very, very difficult journey, which, for all, of us is agony to watch or contemplate but for him we have no conception what it can be.
There are waves of consciousness and wakefulness in Dominic’s day and it is very easy to
see that at times Dominic is straining to reach out to us. Communication is the huge problem. From what we can glean from the expression on his face he enjoys listening to music and to Tara’s voice on the tapes which she compiles for him. What is not certain is what he is processing through his eyes.
Friendly, easy-going, unphased, can-do competent, out going, smart, cheerful, smiling,
socialising, bungee jumping, kite surfing and would-have-wanted-to-go and do many other things.
Let’s hope some day he realises more of his dreams.”
“Thank You” evening for all our supporters
We had a very special thank you event on May 15 for all our friends and family at the wonderful Cross Gallery in Dublin. We would have loved to have all of you join us. Thank you to those who made it, for coming out and joining us in celebrating the incredible group of family, friends and supporters of Dominic.
The evening flew by as we sampled the delicious and incredibly beautifully presented nibbles and cakes from Joe Keane, Helen Morrogh, Lizzie Gore-Grimes, Niamh Garvey, Lea Valintini, and Galina Petrovich. And of course Turlough O'Riordan and the others behind the bar who made sure that our glasses were never left empty, with drinks like Dark and Stormy being served up, we did not complain. Thank you to Ciara and Tiernan O'Morain for providing the alcohol for these ever so funky drinks.
It was great to be able to gather together in a beautiful place, while listening to the captivating music from Kristina Glasnovic, Donal Gunne and Bryan Quinn, on a lovely summer evening with a common focus and to have that great film clip by Isabel Perceval which captured so much of our story.
Thank you for all of you involved and to all of you for coming. A mention of thanks to Dee Gunning and Hugh from Chemistry for designing the ever so funky invite. And finally an incredibly big thank you to Nico and Lizzie Gore-Grimes for hosting us in the Cross Gallery!
Sunday Home Visits with Dominic - Isabel Percival
I am a neighbour of Tara, Dominic and Sonja’s and have been in and out of their house on a regular basis both before and after Dom’s accident. Tara is an incredible friend and her and Dom’s tradition of never allowing anyone to drop by without being fed and watered is very much alive. Sundays when Dom comes home for a visit are a hive of activity, people giving Dom therapy or just visiting him or Tara and Sonja. I thought this day would make a good short film to let people know how Dom was getting on, what his life is like, the type of therapy he is currently getting and to discuss hopes for the future. I hope this film will help people understand how he is and perhaps lead to ideas of what more we can do. Sharing his story through the Dominic Morrogh Trust may open doors further and also give inspiration to others who may be in a similar position. Thank you to all those who took part in starring, filming and editing.
Importance of Neuro Rehabilitation in Acute and Chronic Brain Injuries – Gopalan Sivakumar (Goshi)
Neuro-rehabilitation is a dynamic process, helping individuals who have had brain and spinal cord injuries which may be congenital or acquired. These may be due to various causes from birth injuries such as cerebral palsy, to genetic disorders and accidents. Neuro-rehabilitation is very important for any brain injury patients, because research has shown that the injured brain can be helped to relearn some of the lost functions with the process of “neural plasticity”.
Neural plasticity, by means of regular and intensive rehabilition therapy, not only helps brain tissue re-grow, it also helps in re-learning or regaining lost skills, such as sensory integration, posture, balance, cognition, speech and language. By regaining functional skills, the risk of muscular tightness and contractures, joint stiffness and pressure sores is reduced; bladder and bowel functions and chest function are improved, thus reducing the risk of intestinal and pulmonary infections. Thus physical, physiological and social abilities improve in the long term, leading to the emotional well being of the patient and his/her family.
The WHO (World Health Organisation) states that the goal of an individual who is disabled, following the onset of any brain injuries, should be to achieve independence in their basic daily activities. For the patient and for the family neuro-rehabilitation is vital from the onset of injury, or as soon as is possible after it, in order to maximize its effectiveness and achieve independence.
Gopalan Sivakumar (Goshi) has been mentoring Tara and Dominic’s family and helping them with techniques that they use when working with Dominic. In this time, he has taught Tara and some of Dominic’s family and friends how to help Dominic with the rehabilitation exercises, so that the frequency of therapy is increased. They have noticed a slow but marked improvement in Dominic’s condition, especially in muscular tightness and in his body control.
Dominic and his Defender: staying active, rain or shine (or snow…)
a short anecdote from John Caird.
What Met Eireann said about December 2010: “This particular cold spell was notable for the sustained extreme low temperatures. While many areas had significant and disruptive accumulations of snow, measured snow depths . . . would put December 2010 in the three biggest snow events. Daytime temperatures failed to go above freezing on many days during this period . . . Night time temperatures below minus 10°C became a regular feature.”
What Dom said: “Let’s play tennis.”
I have just walked for 50 minutes to get home from work, stopping several times to help push cars (I didn’t drive mine so I wouldn’t have to do this!!!!). It’s freezing. I am wet, cold and hungry. The fire is lit at home, and the couch is looking better than ever. My phone rings. It’s Dominic. He has booked some courts in Tennis Ireland in Glasnevin. I start laughing; “Dom, its minus 10. I have no way to get to Glasnevin…”
Dom is not laughing; he tells me he will collect me in Stillorgan village in 30 minutes. Dom has a Landrover Defender; I think he has driven it for years waiting for the day when its capabilities can finally be realised! Tennis Ireland indoor courts are in a dome. This is essentially a large marquee where the ambient air temperature is the same as outside, i.e. minus 10! I truly think Dom has finally gone over the edge, but he gently and doggedly convinces me to put on my tennis gear and head to Stillorgan village.
I get in the Defender. Dom is busy co-ordinating the pick-up of Lansdowne tennis players from various points around Dublin. We end up with 3 in the front and 7 in the back. Everyone appears decidedly bemused except Dom who is maintaining a position of (stubborn) normality. We reach the bottom of Mobhi Road in Glasnevin, a hill that is frozen solid, covered in a couple of feet of snow. There are a number of cars abandoned on it, having failed to get up the hill. We start suggesting alternative routes, including home. Dominic drives straight up the hill; I have always wanted a Defender. We park and walk . . . no . . . slip and slide the 10 minutes to the dome. We clear the snow at the door to the dome, enter, and start playing tennis.
And, it is a great night of tennis. We had been locked indoors by the weather for a couple of weeks and are loving playing again, warming up, running for balls we would normally leave. We are all sharing an adventure because Dom wouldn’t accept “no” from anyone.
Ruairi’s 40th Birthday Party in Cork!– Ruairi Walsh
I decided to mark my 40th Birthday with a big house party. Dominic and I had celebrated so many milestone events over the years that I really wanted Dominic to be part of my 40th, and it struck me that this was as an excellent opportunity to raise some money for the Dominic Morrogh Trust. Also it was a great opportunity to tell so many people, who don't know Dominic's story about Dominic and the Trust. The weather on the night was absolutely incredible for the time of year, and with 170+ people we had a very lively night. We raised over €8000 that evening for the Trust. Had Dominic been there he would have been last to leave!
Summer STYLE Event
We are a group of Tara’s friends living in D8, and we all met in the glamorous location of the Breastfeeding Group in the local Health Centre! A bond was created back then, and over the years we have become great friends and our little ones are all good friends with Sonja, too. For quite some time we have wanted to do something to help fundraise for Dominic. A few of us got together and we agreed upon an event that would appeal to local ladies – a Summer Style Night.
And what a night it was! We ended up attracting over 80 ladies to Noshington Café on SCR, D8 on a sunny Thursday night in May. A drinks reception was followed by stylist Niamh O’Rourke showing the latest collections from Arnotts and giving tips on summer fashion. Evelyn from LA Creative did a demonstration of spring/summer make-up looks. This was followed by a raffle with amazing prizes donated by local businesses – top prizes included a night in the Merrion Hotel and dinner at the chef’s table in the Four Seasons, tying in nicely with the glamorous event that it was.
We had great fun organising the event with each of us taking on tasks that played to our strengths. There were lots of event management meetings over glasses of wine and no rows in the committee. It was a fantastic night and there was a huge feeling of love and support for Tara, Dominic and Sonja from all of the ladies present. And most importantly we raised €4,500 for the Dominic Morrogh Trust. A huge thank you to everyone who helped organise the event – too many to mention – and to all the local businesses who were persuaded to donate raffle prizes. We’ll definitely be organising another one! We look forward to the next ladies event in 2015.– Girl Power!
Staying Active to Keep Dominic Active
"A Spanish Stroll" - Julie and Sarah O’Loughlin
Julie read "The Pilgrimage" by Paulo Coelho, her favourite author, when she was 15 and wanted to do the pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago ever since. Her sister Sarah and she talked a few times about doing it together, but with work/college commitments for both of them, it never came off... until May 2014.
They were inspired by the things that others were doing for the Dominic Morrogh Trust, and being connected to Dominic (their brother Padhraig is married to Dom’s sister Mary) they thought, ‘Why not raise funds whilst getting to do this awesome endurance event?’ The fact that Dom had his accident in the month of May poignantly brought home to them how lucky they were to be able to do this pilgrimage.
Once Julie, the main organiser, had researched and planned transport, accommodation, destinations and their day-to-day itinerary, the sisters set off equipped with their backpacks, walking shoes and walking sticks (which they named Marco and Pablo Pole’o - hey, it passed the time!).
Julie and Sarah:
When we think of the Camino the things that spring to mind are camaraderie, simplicity, kindness, pain, joy - we experienced myriad emotions along the way.
We were apprehensive about how we would deal with aches and pains and sore limbs. We started in St Jean-Pied-de-Port in the South of France and walked over the Pyrenees into Spain and onwards for our 800km trek to Santiago de Compostela in the west of Spain. The first day was undoubtedly the hardest physically as it is mountainous, but the breathtaking views made up for aching muscles. Later we were beset by fears of being able to complete what we had started due to injuries. Then once we realised that aches were the norm and you could push your body, it was a joy - difficult, but still a joy because we were so privileged to be able to do it at all.
Whilst walking we experienced such kindness from people we met along the way. One person gave us a support for one of our injured legs, and a Spanish man pointed us towards our Albergue (pilgrim hostel) in the pouring rain (language barriers were all overcome with a smile and a lot of gestures!). If we could say anything about it, it's that the Camino made us more tolerant of our fellow men; we had to accept some awful snoring, and sometimes put up with the unthinking person who was not as "camino" minded as the next; but ultimately it was ok.
We all lead hectic lives; jobs and family commitments take us away from seeing the beauty in the everyday and the joy in the simple things. The Camino takes you back to a simpler life where you get to reconnect with nature, yourself and people. We were very lucky by the end to have acquired a "Camino family" - a fantastic mix of people from Ireland, USA, England, Germany, Spain and Italy, whom we met for meals, with whom we had discussion and put the world to rights (and some of whom we had the odd dance-off with too!). They say "the Camino provides" . . . and we hope we have taken some of that human spirit home with us. As they say, the real journey begins when you return home . . .
We want to thank all of those who supported us. Our family was so encouraging, and we are blessed to have had them behind us. Huge appreciation has to go to all those at home and abroad who so kindly donated to the cause and gave us regular gee-ups along the way; we were just blown away by what we had achieved. Our target was €2000 and in the end we raised €3372. We were just so thrilled, so thank you truly. We are so pleased that the funds raised will go some way towards helping Dominic's rehabilitation. Tara was regularly on the email looking for updates and photos and giving us encouragement, and was another vital source of our motivation to keep going; so thank you, Tara. We would also like to mention those people we met along the Camino who made it so worthwhile and meaningful and those new acquaintances who donated so kindly on hearing of our motivation for doing the walk.
PS: The inventor of the ear plug also deserves a thank you for helping muffle the snoring of fellow walkers!
Save The Date!
We’ll be celebrating and partying it up in Dom’s honour on Saturday 29th November upstairs at Toners Pub, 139 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2.
More information :
Thanks again for all your support over the past year. Please do check out the website for more pictures of all of these events.
We’ve also got several things lined up for the autumn and winter, so please do keep in touch! We hope you enjoy the rest of 2014 and look forward to seeing some of you at events in Ireland and beyond!