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Martina ‘honoured’ to win Mayo Person of the Year award

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PROUD MOMENT Mayo Person Of The Year Martina Jennings pictured with her husband Jarlath, daughter Rachel and son Iarla at the announcement. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Mike Finnerty

THE latest recipient of the ‘Mayo Person of the Year’ award, Martina Jennings, says she is dedicating the accolade to ‘ everybody that helped us along the way’ to realise the dream of building a Mayo Roscommon Hospice Unit in Castlebar.
Martina, who is the CEO of the Hospice, will be presented with her award on Friday night next, February 14, at the Mayo Association Dublin’s annual awards in the Ballsbridge Hotel.
A native of Garrymore, who now lives in Hollymount, Martina admitted that news of her success was ‘an honour’ that had come ‘as a huge shock’ but something that she, her husband, Jarlath, and children Rachel and Iarla were extremely proud of.
“I’m very honoured, it came as a huge shock, I had no idea I was nominated,” she told The Mayo News.
“Anything I’ve ever done wouldn’t be to win any award, but to be honoured like this in your own county, because I’m so proud of where I’m from, so proud of Mayo and our people, it’s a bit of a surreal experience.
“The Hospice Unit has been built by people from Mayo and Roscommon for people from both counties, and it’s something that I’m incredibly proud of. But this award is for everybody that helped us along the way,” she continued.
“It’s the goodwill that it’s brought with it, there’s something very special about the site we’re on and this building. Because every single cent of the €9 million [the cost of the project] has come from donations, and we are the only Hospice in Ireland that can say that, that’s been completely built by fundraised income.
“That wouldn’t have been possible without the support and generousity of the people of Mayo and Roscommon.”
The state-of-the-art Hospice Unit in Castlebar was officially opened last July and will open its doors to patients later this year. It has been designed around the concept of being ‘a home away from home’ for those who use it and has everything you would expect in a world-class facility of its kind.
“The whole thing about this Hospice was that it was going to be a home from home, that’s what we wanted,” explained Martina Jennings. “We know the fear of somebody coming in the front door and why they’re there. And it’s not always end of life, 70 percent of people are discharged again.
“But they are terminal and they’ve been diagnosed with an illness that has changed their whole lives around. And the Hospice is about welcoming them in, making them feel welcome, and saying, ‘Yes’ to whatever they want.
“There’s nothing ‘clinical’ about the building even though it is a clinical building and meets all the regulations and guidelines. It’s a patient’s home and a family’s home from when they get here.
“Everything from the pods donated by the Gavin family [in Breaffy] to the family apartment to the family rooms around the place, they’re all really homely. You want people to be wrapped in a giant hug when they come in here.
“This building will hold such special memories; you will have weddings, first holy communions, special birthday parties, we even have hairdressers and beauticians from the community who have come behind us to make sure that their services are available to make occasions special for the people involved.
“None of this would have been possible without the support and kindness of so many people.”
Tickets (costing €90 each) for Friday night’s awards can be purchased on Mayo Association Dublin’s website www.mayoassociationdublin.com but they will sell out fast this week, so the advice from the Association is to book yours now!