Chloe: UCC, two jobs and a Red Cross carer of the year
A third-level student has been honoured by an Irish Red Cross branch in West Cork as its carer of the year.
Polish-born Paulina Karcz was the recipient of the 2018 Chloe Burke Carer of the Year, established by the Clonakilty branch in memory of a young colleague who died suddenly three years ago.
Paulina, who is originally from Poland, moved to Clonakilty 12 years ago with her family to set up a new life.
However, tragedy struck the family in 2016 when her dad passed away suddenly.
The lives of Paulina, along with her mother Monika and sister Wiktoria, were turned upside down as her dad was the sole carer for his wife.
Paulina, 18 at the time and in her Leaving Cert year, took on the role of caring for her mother who is confined to a wheelchair, along with help from her sister. Now aged 21, she balances a very hectic lifestyle.
In her third year at University College Cork, where she is studying biochemistry, she is also holding down two parttime jobs and continues to look after her family daily.
Paulina’s friends, who nominated her for the Chloe Burke Carer of the Year Award, described her as a loving and caring young woman who touches the hearts of all who are lucky enough to know her and who puts the needs of her family and loved ones to the fore of her life.
The Chloe Burke Carer of the Year Award was established by the Clonakilty branch of the Irish Red Cross in memory of their colleague who died suddenly, aged 26, in 2015.
An emergency responder with the branch, Chloe had been an active member in promoting teenage events and had also been, at the time, leader of Clonakilty Foróige Club for 13 years.
Meanwhile, also honoured in the branch’s 2018 awards, at a ceremony in Dunmore House Hotel in Clonakilty recently, as shortlisted award recipients, were: Martin Collins Dunmore, Clonakilty, who was nominated for the care he gives to his aunt, and a l s o B e r n a d e t t e D e we y Walshe who was also shortlisted for the overall award. Bernadette was nominated for caring for both her parents while also involved in many voluntary organisations.
Carers recognised by the Clonakilty Red Cross. Pictured, back, Pádraig O’Reilly branch secretary; John Joe Lyons, Area Director of Units; Mary Burke, chairperson; with branch officers Danielle Cullinane, Johnny O’Reilly and Tim Kelleher. Front: Martin Collins, Paulina Karcz (overall winner) and Bernadette Dewey-Walshe. Right: Paulina with her mum Monkia and sister Wiktoria.