Tipperary student remembered on charity wristbands to raise awareness for meningitis

A Tipperary student has been remembered by ACT for Meningitis with a special dedication on their awareness wristbands following her sudden death after contracting meningitis, writes Amy Ryan.

The charity wished to extend their gratitude to the family, teachers and friends of Gráinne O'Donnell, who have raised almost €19,000 for the charity since March.

Gráinne O'Donnell was 20 years old when she passed away on February 16.

"In Grainne’s memory and with the family’s consent, we were very pleased to have these awareness wrist bands stamped with one of our key our messages to students, “Trust Your Instincts” and “#GRÁ”, the social media hashtag affectionately used by her family and friends when remembering their beloved Grainne on social media," said CEO Siobhan Carroll.

Gráinne's cousin, Niamh Flannery, posted a dedication while travelling in Thailand. She said: "6months today your gone G! There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of you! I left a lock today at Maya bay 'the beach' to mark a place that I know you'd have fallen in love with! Love you loads and please stay with me in my travels."

The charity was initially contacted by Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, where Gráinne had attended school, who organised a 5k walk and 10k run in memory of their past pupil.

The family and friends of Gráinne have continued arranging fundraisers to support the charity since then.

"Grainne’s family and friends have come together to organise a tractor run, music day,

darts night, coffee morning and even a mop-chop in her memory and to date have raised an amazing €18,947 for ACT for Meningitis," said Siobhan.

Family and friends organised a tractor run in Gráinne's memory.

ACT for Meningitis is a national support and awareness organisation based in Galway which was set up in 2011 by Siobhan Carroll following the loss of her daughter Aoibhe (4) to this disease.

The organisation works across the country to raise awareness and promote education around the signs and symptoms of meningitis, and to provide free community-based support services to those affected by meningitis.

ACT for Meningitis is working to raise awareness for college students, who are the second highest risk category for contracting Meningitis.

The charity said that the symptoms can be difficult to diagnose so it is important that people are aware.

"Meningitis can spread by close contact and symptoms can present very similarly to a hangover or a flu.

"Therefore, it is vitally important that young adults are made aware of the signs, symptoms and speed of this disease as awareness can save lives," said Siobhan.

Daithí O'Donnell, Gráinne's cousin, recently wrote the song 'Hey Mo Ghrá', dedicated to her memory.

Daithí said: "Gráinne was amazing. You'd never find her with without a smile on her face and she had such an infectious laugh. She was a kind, caring and happy person."

For more information on Meningitis please visit www.actformeningitis.ie, find ACT for Meningitis on social media, or download their free meningitis awareness app.

If you would like to be sent you some of these free wristbands or awareness cards, please email annmarie@actformeningitis.ie or call (091)380058.


By Amy Ryan

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