Winnie and Mel Donlon

by Tricia Donlon

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Earlier this year Winnie celebrated 50 years of a very full life. Next year, St Christopher’s, a service with a long association with Winnie’s parents and Winnie herself, will be celebrating 50 years of provision to families and their children with an intellectual disability. Winnie’s story and that of St Christopher’s go hand in hand, as Mel, her father, has been an integral part of the organisation since its foundation. 2014 will see five decades of Mel’s continuous involvement.

winnie2It’s no exaggeration to say that Winnie is the sun in all our worlds and, like the planets, we all revolve around her. Her Mother Kathleen sadly died in 1985, at a young age. Since then, Mel has brilliantly cared for her. Winnie is the image of her Dad and has inherited all his good traits and abilities, which we all smile at and admire within the family.

When Winnie celebrated her 50th birthday this year, it reflected all that is wonderful in her life. Everyone who loved her and whom she loved was there. The celebration was organised meticulously by her proud father.

winnie3Winnie is like a soothing balm when people are ill—people find her presence so therapeutic. She is a woman of few words, but she loves being involved in activities and is an enthusiastic participant, whether in her Sonas Unit in St Christopher’s Day Service or within her extended family.

All our lives have been so enriched by her presence—if only new parents could see the wonderful joy Winnie brings to all our lives each day. The use of the word ‘disability’ does not enter into our lexicon.

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