Meet Ann-Marie from Renmore.
Ann-Marie is a national school teacher in Scoil Chaitríona Senior School, Renmore. Having grown up in a family of nine with no TV, Ann-Marie's parents, John and Ann instilled a love of music in all their children. They formed a musical group, the Duggan Trad Band, in which all nine children played! Ann-Marie played violin, tin whistle, piano and bodhrán. They travelled the country performing in fleadhs, réadóiri, scór competitions and won many all Ireland titles. They also recorded their music and used to sell their tapes to raise money for Trócaire. Every Christmas Day Ann-Marie and her siblings would leave their Santa presents at home, sometimes unwillingly, to go into NUIG (formerly UCG) to play music for homeless who were gathered and fed there.
Nowadays Ann-Marie has her hands full with three boys. Ann-Marie met her husband Shane, at a dance where it is rumoured she made a move on him and asked him to dance. She still debates as to who asked who! Their first child Tomás, now 6, was born prematurely with his twin Seán, at only 26 weeks. Both twins weighed less then a pound each and struggled to stay alive. After 30 days Seán sadly passed away. Ann-Marie and Shane were told Tomás had spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and he would never walk or talk. Unfortunately Tomás will never walk. Ann-Marie and Shane are fundraising to purchase him a wheelchair which he can control using his chin and to adapt their house to integrate costly but essential equipment that Tomás needs. Luckily he is a very clever little boy and defied the predictions of the doctors; he now cannot only talk but he likes to belt out a few Mike Denver songs with his brothers Matthew (5) and Luke (3).
Ann-Marie is currently organising a fundraising event, "Sparkle at the g" to help raise funds. This fashion event is unique in Galway and as well as music from the Guinness Jazz band and Bel Canto, there are also some amazing prizes on the night.
You can purchase your ticket here.
It is rare to meet someone who has been through such hardship at a young age to be so positive. It is a pleasure to have Ann-Marie in our faces of Galway project. To read more about Tomás's inspirational journey why don't you follow him on facebook or check out his website here.