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South Armagh sisters transform another family room in local Intensive Care Unit

Belinda and son Leo and Claudia and daughter Kyla with Interim Director for Acute Services Melanie McClements, Assistant Director Ronan Carroll, Sister Ruth McParland and Dr Helena Murray in the transformed Family Consultation Room in the ICU

A second room for families at Craigavon Area Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has been given a major makeover thanks to the efforts of two sisters from Silverbridge.

Belinda O’Neill and Claudia McAvoy refurbished the Family Room last year, and came back to the ICU department, in recent weeks, to complete another amazing makeover in the Family Consultation Room.

The new look Family Consultation Room now includes a bespoke sofa, armchair and foot stool, tea and coffee making facilities and other soft furnishings such as paintings, rugs and accessories.

The sisters have been on a fundraising drive since 2017 when a close family member was cared for by the Unit. They came up with the project of transforming the two rooms as a way of giving something back to the place where they spent a lot of time.

They hosted two Sparkling Afternoon Tea’s, one in 2017 in the Canal Court in Newry and one in 2018 in the Carrickdale, with the proceeds from both used to transform the two rooms. They transformed the Family Room last year.

Speaking about the project Belinda said: “This is our way of showing our gratitude to the amazing ICU staff and we hope that other families who find themselves in the same situation will find some comfort in these refurbished surroundings.

“We knew there were the two rooms and we felt we could not do one without the other.

“We are so happy how they have turned out as they complement one another through their colour schemes and we only hope that families who find themselves needing this room, will benefit from the little comforts that we have made in them, during what can be such a distressing time for them.”

Thanking them for their generosity, Intensive Care Unit Manager, Sister Ruth McParland, said: “Once again we are completely overwhelmed by the kindness of Belinda and Claudia. They have put their whole hearts into transforming both rooms and their thoughtfulness has not gone unnoticed.

“Here in Intensive Care we treat acutely ill patients from across the whole Southern Trust area. The Family Consultation Room is for families to have a rest and the privacy to come to terms with the trauma of having an ill relative in Intensive Care.

“Thanks to the efforts from Belinda and Claudia, these families will now have a beautiful home-from-home environment which will hopefully bring them some comfort during these difficult circumstances.”

Belinda and Claudia would like to thank everyone who donated to their fundraising efforts. In addition to the room transformations, donations also went to PIPS Hope and Support and the Ellen Treanor Fund.

The sisters have said that they are also planning another fundraising event in June of next year to raise funds for causes close to their hearts.

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