My daughter was chosen by her school to travel with members from your Trust on Easter Sunday 12th April, she travelled as part of group 162 which was the Limerick group.
We, as a family, and my daughter personally were all quite anxious about this trip as she had never been away anywhere without one member or all members of our family before. However, after having a visit to our house from Mary Scully (group leader), Kathleen Sheehy and Margaret Clifford on two separate occasions, we were in no doubt that she was in safe hands. All our questions were answered from our fears that our daughter would be homesick to the fact that she likes a light on at night were all discussed and dealt with in a caring and understanding manner towards her particular needs.
Mary Scully had furnished us with all details regarding flight numbers and times plus the hotel details and also the mobile phone numbers for some helpers, should we need to make contact or just check up on progress of trip or indeed the wellbeing of our child. I phoned my daughter on Monday night to say hello, she got upset but assured me all was well but just upset to hear my voice. As I had promised her a call on Thursday night, I reluctantly rang again, this time she had just enough time to talk with me as she was getting ready for a fancy dress party and the excitement of that and the news of every other event that taken place up to that point was bursting out of her.
As she came through at Shannon Airport on the Saturday night, she was absolutely ‘buzzing’, the scene, for us was a very emotional one, watching her with all the other children and the helpers acting like one big family. She was on a high introducing us to everyone and hugging each one of them as she did so. One could feel the genuine bond that had grown between them all. My daughter grew to love these ‘strangers’ over the week and as we talked long into the hours of Sunday morning with her about the whole experience, it became apparent why this was so. Each day while she was in Lourdes she was treated to some wonderful outing whether it was walking up the mountain or being still at the Grotto late at night to having a girly night in the bedroom having hair straightened along with a wonderful foot massage from Mary Ryan. My daughter embraced all of these experiences totally even to attending the baths twice, she did this only because of the gente encouragement and praise from the helpers and this meant she was made to feel very comfortable and at one with the helpers. She wrote to one of the helpers on Sunday night which gives us an idea of what he meant to her and she says she will be his friend for life.
I could go on and on. We have the greatest admiration for these people who devote a week of their time to make life wonderful for one week for a lot of young people. We understand also that to do this, they pay their own fare so as not to take anything from the Trust and this enables the Trust to do what it does best from the organising of this event to the funding.
A big thanks to all of you.