UK award for brave parents
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
AN INSPIRATIONAL couple from Warrenpoint have won an award for the brave way in which they used their personal experience of brain injury to help others similarly affected.
Larry and Carmel Lynch beat off competition from across the UK to jointly win the Campaigner of the Year title in the Headway Annual Awards.
The awards programme, run by the brain injury charity Headway, celebrates the outstanding achievements and contributions of people with brain injuries and those working to support them.
The couple were presented with their award by double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell, who is vice president of the charity, at a ceremony held at London's Dorchester Hotel on Friday.
In October 2011, Larry and Carmel faced every parent's nightmare - their son Laurence, who was also known as Larry, had been out with friends at a charity night getting his legs waxed to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association when tragedy struck.
On his way home, the 25-year-old fell off a four-foot wall and hit his head. He was rushed to hospital but sadly passed away a week later.
A few months after his death, his family and friends decided to do something positive in his memory. Larry and Carmel had been informed that had Laurence survived, he would most likely have been left with a brain injury and would have required the help of Headway to help rebuild his life.
Following a visit to Headway in Newry, the couple decided it was the charity they wanted to support in their son's name. The Larry Lynch Fundraising Appeal was subsequently launched and they began a seven month programme of raising funds and awareness of the charity, which included bag packs, sponsored walks, a beard shave and a dinner dance. In June, Larry and Carmel presented Headway in Newry with a cheque for £23,413.
“The way that Larry and Carmel have reacted to the unimaginable tragedy of losing their son is truly inspirational," said Peter McCabe, chief executive of Headway.
“Together with family members and friends, they have done an incredible amount in Laurence's name. The money they have raised will provide a vital boost to local services, but equally important is the fact that so many more people in the region are now aware that Headway is here to help people affected by brain injury."
The couple were nominated by Sheila Quinn, development officer at Headway Newry, who said: "It's impossible to imagine what Larry and Carmel have been through. The bravery they have shown in channelling their emotions into helping others affected by brain injury is immense.
“It's not just the money they have raised in their son's name. They have done so much to raise awareness of brain injury. They are extraordinary people."
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