2012 Volunteer Ireland Awards, Campaigning and Awareness Raising

David Prendergast, Laura Lynn House and Children’s Sunshine Home

Dublin

After losing his two year old daughter Beth to Leukaemia and watching her experience a painful death due to the lack of appropriate paediatric palliative care services, David has worked incredibly hard to raise awareness and funds to build Ireland’s first children’s hospice.

He has turned his grief into something positive by giving to others. Since 2008 he has worked with the Irish Health Service Executive to improve nursing practices. One result is that all adult palliative care nurses now have to be trained in the use of children’s Hickman catheters to speedily deliver pain relief medication. David also harnessed his efforts with the Children’s Sunshine home; an organisation with similar ambitions to build a hospice.

David has become a trusted advisor of Laura Lynn house both during and after the build. He has volunteered thousands of hours and with the help from his family, friends, and hundreds of colleagues he has held dozens of fundraising events, raising tens of thousands of euro. Through these funds, along with lots of free ICT guidance David has helped Laura Lynn House fulfil the dream of building Ireland’s first children’s hospice. The hospice provides a peaceful and private environment in which children are able to die with dignity, surrounded by their families.

In September 2011 David's dream became a reality and the significant contribution he made saw the formal opening of Laura Lynn Hospice in Dublin. Since then 111 children have been looked after away from their home and families, with family accommodation also being provided, this gives allows families to spend quality time together. To date Laura Lynn House still receives no state funding and without the leadership of volunteers like David the house would not be operating.

Photography by Xuan Busto.