YOU have the power to help peo­ple like me

CF SUF­FERER SEAN SAYS OUT­COME OF COVID-19 CRI­SIS IS IN OUR HANDS

Bray People - - FRONT PAGE - By MARY FOG­A­RTY

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

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