“It’s every parent’s worst fear, anyone with children can understand. Our children these days are all off exploring the world, but something like this so easily can happen,” said the aunt of a young teacher with Cootehill links who took seriously ill while teaching her class in the United Arab Emirates late last month.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick was speaking about her sick niece Aisling Brady (26), who suffered multiple cardiac arrests and a stroke. Family and friends have been rallying around since in an effort to raise funds for an air ambulance to transport Aisling home to Trim. Tomorrow’s Manhunt run in Maudabawn will also contribute to the cause.
To date, a GoFundMe page effort and other fundraising efforts in aid of the Aisling Brady Care Fund have managed to raise close to €150,000.
Aisling was in the process prepping for her morning class on November 27 when she fainted, hitting her head on the floor. Colleagues called an ambulance but her condition rapidly began to deteriorate on the way to hospital.
Back home in Ireland, at 5.30am, her father, Kill-native Terence and wife Antoinette were woken abruptly. Less than seven hours later, they were on a flight from Dublin to the Gulf state to be by their daughter’s bedside.
It transpired that a pulmonary embolism (clot) had, unbeknownst to Aisling, formed in her leg over a long period of time. Its movement caused serious damage to the brain and, combined with the total of twelve minutes of hypoxia, left Aisling’s cardio-vascular system and brain very weak. She also suffered a stroke, which further complicated matters.
“We’re devastated, as any family would be,” says Geraldine, one of a family of eight from the Kill area, near Cootehill. Other family members include Aisling’s dad Terry, brothers Brendan, Fergal, Ciaran, Micheal and Gabriel, and sister Maura. Aisling was a familiar face in the locality, from her many visits to cousins and family in Cavan, and for her involvement with the Drumlin Hounds hunting club.
The 5/10/15km Manhunt ride, run or walk event on December 29, starting from Gallonray House, is co-run by the Drumlin Hounds and Cavan Kayakarun. The cost per entry is €15 per person, or €20 per horse. The event starts at 11.30am, and is even running with the added tagline of ‘Doing it for Aisling’.
In the past, the Manhunt event has raised much needed funds for Erica’s Fairy Forest, as well as for Debra Drury, a young Canningstown woman critically injured in a fall from a rope swing in New Zealand back in 2014.
The fundraising effort is now underway from Dubai where Aisling worked, to Cavan, Meath, the US, as well as the UK where Aisling’s partner Kristian Mansfield is from. It was Kristian who set up the GoFundMe page, which since being established just eight days ago, has vastly exceeded its initial €80,000 goal.
By way of update on Aisling’s condition, Geraldine says the latest reports are that she is “improving slightly”, and that following a tracheotomy, while there is no speech, she is beginning to follow doctors and others charged with her care “with her eyes”.
The clot, which caused the initial damage, meanwhile, appears to have gone.
“She was larger than life, an amazing girl,” Geraldine describes her niece to The Anglo-Celt, before adding that the family are “overwhelmed” by the incredible generosity of so many in support of Aisling. “She played rugby in Dubai, ran, was as fit as a fiddle, that’s why this has been such a shock for us and everyone else. She had her whole life ahead of her, and she was living life to its fullest.
“We’re all now just keeping our finger’s crossed, praying, and taking it day by day. Hopefully we’ll have [Aisling] home soon with us. We know it will be a long road to recovery, we’re prepared for that, but the support we’ve received to date has given us so much strength. We’re so thankful for that.”