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CF SUFFERER SEAN SAYS OUTCOME OF COVID-19 CRISIS IS IN OUR HANDS
SEAN Kavanagh (21) is appealing to people to practice social distancing as he remains in social isolation.
‘If I ended up contracting the virus it would put me in with people who have asthma, people who are on chemotherapy drugs, the elderly, people who wouldn’t be 100 per cent healthy and don’t know, people with heart disease.’
Sean said that the public are now responsible for the outcome of the coronavirus pandemic. In order to lower the stress on the Irish healthcare system and nurses and doctors who are slaving away at the moment, and will be slaving away for the next couple of weeks, maybe even months, based on how we handle this situation, we need to socially distance.’
The media studies student is isolating in a cabin behind the family home and seeing family sparingly and at a distance.
SEAN Kavanagh from Brookwood on Bray’s Herbert Road is 21 years old and is in self-isolation in a cabin to the rear of his family home.
He hasn’t seen his girlfriend Ava in two weeks and has minimal contact with his parents Joe and Sandra and sister Sarah.
Despite facing a challenging time, Sean is in good spirits. ‘I’m feeling okay and I have no symptoms. I’m looking after myself and chilling out. I’m a master at chilling out - I’ve been training for this moment my whole life!’
Sean had put out a video on Instagram in the previous days, appealing for people to observe social distancing guidelines. ‘I suffer from cystic fibrosis, which puts me in the high risk category,’ he said. ‘If I ended up contracting the virus it would put me in with people who have asthma, people who are on chemotherapy drugs, the elderly, people who wouldn’t be 100 per cent healthy and don’t know, people with heart disease.’ He said that he has seen people online socialising and hanging around with each other, in close proximity to each other.
‘ The public are responsible for this. The people are responsible for this. In order to lower the stress on the Irish healthcare system and nurses and doctors who are slaving away at the moment, and will be slaving away for the next couple of weeks, maybe even months, based on how we handle this situation, we need to socially distance.’
He warned people of the consequences of not doing so. All you’re doing is putting people at risk. Your granny, your granddad, people who aren’t well, people like me.
‘Please just stay at home, chill out for a while, sit with your parents, you might not get on with them or whatever, just see if you can. Start a new series, play a few games. Have a few cans at home. Don’t be doing what the government are asking us not to do.’
Cystic fibrosis is a degenerative genetic disease people are born with. As they get older it gets worse. Sean explained that a defective protein makes the mucus kind of sticky, and bacteria then thrives. ‘So we’re prone to infections and the immune system compromised.
I wouldn’t be able to combat the virus if I got it,’ said Sean.
‘I’m in self isolation in the cabin out the back. I just go to the house to say hello at a distance. I can go for walks by myself but haven’t really tried yet. I’ve been watching movies all day. I can’t see my girlfriends Ava and haven’t seen her in two weeks.’ They are in regular contact on Facetime. ‘I’m probably seeing more of her now than ever!’ said Sean.
He is in third year in media studies at IADT and had to cut short a work placement on RTE’s ‘Our Town’ documentary. ‘I was holding a boom, helping set up and so on,’ said Sean. ‘I started in January and was meant to finish at the end of April but finished in March. So that’s college finished for me for this year.’
He made the Instagram video because it was bothering him seeing people out.
‘ They’re closed now, but the pubs were packed,’ he said. ‘As long as people keep a distance obviously it’s fine to be out but there were so many people at places like chippers and coffee shops, not adhering to the advice of the government, and oblivious to how they were behaving as it doesn’t affect them.’
He said that the video got ‘a good few’ shares and he hopes it made an impact and other people feel the same way.
Sean works at O’Brien’s off-licence on Quinsboro Road where he said social distancing measures have been introduced. He hasn’t worked there in a month due to the outbreak, but is looking forward to going back to work when it’s safe.
Sean has phone contact with a number of people with cystic fibrosis, some of whom are more seriously ill than he is, awaiting transplants.
‘I’m fairly healthy but some are much worse and absolutely terrified,’ said Sean. ‘If they got coronavirus it would be the end of them.’
Sean Kavanagh self isolating at home in Brookwood.
Sean Kavanagh at home in Brookwood