Meet siobhan from Oranmore
When you look at the Act for Meningitis logo a rainbow is a key part of it. Siobhan told us it represents Aoibhe; that she is their symbol of a future after a horrible storm. But after speaking with Siobhan we can't help but feel it actually represents her. A strong arc of seven colours in the sky that can be seen when the sun shines through falling rain. Siobhan is the strong arc that holds together her family. Her three kids who she strives daily to give the best childhood to, the identical twin boys she lost at 16 weeks pregnant and her 4 year old daughter Aoibhe, who died in the arms of her father, and her husband Noel who spent those last few hours caring for Aoibhe.
The night Aoibhe died Siobhan was in hospital due to complications with her fourth pregnancy. Noel rang her to say Aoibhe wasn't feeling well, she was vomiting and had diarrhoea. After ringing West Doc he was advised there was a vomiting bug going around, to keep an eye on her temperature and ring them if it changed. Noel knew it was more than that but without signs of the well known rash he never even thought she had meningitis. Aoibhe had an aggressive strain of Meningitis that was silently attacking her. Within a few hours she wasn't improving, she was cuddled into Noel on the couch when he noticed her lips turning blue. An ambulance rushed her to UHG where Siobhan was waiting alone in the dark, the rapid sound of sirens announcing their arrival as paramedics were trying to revive Aoibhe. Aoibhe could not be revived.
Four weeks later Siobhan gave birth to their third child. With so little time to grieve and a new born to care for, along with a toddler, she had to pick herself up and get on with day to day life. She mourned the loss of her daughter while trying to care for her children who were alive. Someone told her that the death of a child could either become the book of your life or a chapter in your book. Siobhan decided that Aoibhe would not be forgotten and her loss could be used to help others. Despite no experience of charity work Siobhan and Noel set up Aoibhe Carroll Trust (ACT) for Meningitis. It is a self funding charity which aims to raise awareness and educate society about the signs and symptoms of meningitis. It also offers free support services in Ireland to those affected by the disease. For more information of how to recognise the signs of Meningitis or download the app click here.
In 2015 Siobhan was one of the Galway People of the Year Award winners but she constantly says that she could not do what she is doing without the constant and unwavering help of the Galway people, and for that she will be eternally grateful.