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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019

Man who provides round-the-clock care for his wife named Carer of the Year

Marcin Filak cares for his wife Ola and their two children.

Marcin Filak from Kildalkey, Co Meath cares for his wife Ola who suffers from locked-in syndrome.
Marcin Filak from Kildalkey, Co Meath cares for his wife Ola who suffers from locked-in syndrome.
Image: Mark Stedman

A MAN WHO provides round-the-clock, full-time care for his wife was named Ireland’s Carer of the Year 2019 at a ceremony in Dublin today. 

Marcin Filak cares for his wife Ola, who suffers from locked-in syndrome, and their two children, the eldest of whom Piotr (13) has autism.

Three weeks after giving birth to the couple’s daughter Anastasia (2), Ola suffered a brain stem stroke, resulting in locked-in syndrome.

The condition means she is aware of her surroundings but cannot move or speak, communicating only through eye movements.

Marcin told Ola he would make her dream of coming home from the hospital a reality so he quit his job as a farm equipment engineer and undertook extensive training in order to be able to meet her care needs.

After 18 months, Ola returned home where Marcin is now her full-time carer. 

Ola and the St Pats team from the National Rehabilitation Hospital nominated Marcin to say “thank you” for the extraordinary care he provides for his family.

The couple who live in Kildalkey, Co Meath are originally from Poland but moved to Ireland in 2016.

NO FEE 9 Netwatch National Carer of the Year Young Carers of the Year: (L) Matthew McCartin (17), Áine Grant (20), Hailey Golden (11), and Lily Power (18) (R) Source: Mark Stedman

A number of young carers were also picked out for their exceptional contributions.

They included: 

  • Lily Power (18) from Co Cork who has been caring from a very young age for her mum who has Parkinson’s.
  • Áine Grant (20) from Co Donegal who cares for her mam Nuala who was diagnosed with early onset dementia two years ago.
  • Matthew McCartin (17) from Co Wexford who has been caring for his dad since he was five years old. His Dad now has advanced Parkinson’s Disease with dementia and is wheelchair bound.
  • Hailey Golden (11) from Co Mayo who has three brothers with special needs. She has learned ‘Lámh’ and Picture Exchange Communication and helps to feed and dress them and to use their speech devices.

Commenting on those recognised, Catherine Cox, from Family Carers Ireland said: “ We look forward to this event each year which not only gives family carers the recognition they deserve but also shines a light on caring in Ireland today and the challenges that many face in their roles.”  

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Adam Daly

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