A big hearted nine-year-old from Buncrana, Kara Rose Black, has been named a Hidden Hearing Hero at this year’s national awards.
Kara Rose was among twenty national winners, recognised at the awards yesterday for ordinary and extraordinary acts of kindness, community, and determination that make a difference in Irish society.
On her seventh birthday in 2015, Kara Rose donated her hair to charity to make wigs for children, after her school friend lost her hair due to cancer treatment. She continues to donate regularly, just as soon as her long hair grows back.
Kara Rose has also raised over €1,000 for the Irish Heart Foundation, in memory of her great gran, Agnes, and for the Irish Cancer Society in memory of her gran Margaret, and her great grandad John.
She was accompanied by her proud parents Michelle and Stuart Black as her achievements were honoured on Monday.
Presenting the national award in the ‘Young Hero’ category, Stephen Leddy, Hidden Hearing’s Managing Director, said that people like Kara Rose Black are to be celebrated for their selfless acts and generosity.
“Our young winner already has a lovely natural instinct to help others, and is a remarkable example to young people of how giving to others makes the community a better place for everyone”, Stephen Leddy said.
Open to young and old people from all walks of life, the Hidden Hearing Hero Awards has been run since 2011, and invites nominations from members of the public in a number of categories.
The awards scheme is supported by Hidden Hearing, but nominees are not necessarily deaf or hard of hearing, according to Stephen Leddy.
“Hidden Hearing backs the Heroes awards programme because, like our hearing, special people are sometimes taken for granted, and are maybe not fully appreciated until they’re not around”, he said at the 2017 awards presentation.
Other winners in the 2017 Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards included Cork mother Vera Twomey, who campaigned for cannabis-based treatment for her daughter Ava, who suffers from a severe form of epilepsy.
This year’s Healthcare Hero is Dr Phil Halligan, based at the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health systems in UCD in Dublin, for her support of students registered with a disability.
Also recognised in the Healthcare category is Watermans Lodge, a day care and respite centre for people with Alzheimer’s, in Ballina, Co Tipperary. Their award was accepted by Christina McKenna.
In the Triumph over Adversity category, cystic fibrosis sufferer Jillian McNulty was acknowledged for her recent campaign for the new CF drug Orkambi to be made available in Ireland.
A member of the Dublin-based coast guard helicopter was also honoured for bravery, as was 11-year-old Archie Naughton from Roscommon, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and is involved in the search for a cure.
Hidden Hearing also made a €2,000 donation on the day to Crumlin Children’s Hospital, which was accepted by Dee McMahon, Financial Director of the hospital.
Broadcaster Mary Kennedy was MC at the glittering awards presentation in the InterContinental Hotel in Dublin.
Celebrities and media personalities on hand to congratulate the 2017 Hidden Hearing Heroes included Aisling O’Loughlin, Lorraine Keane, Nuala Carey, Alan Hughes, Karl Broderick, sports star Tony Ward, chef Kevin Dundon, singer Melanie McCabe and actors Maclean Burke, Tony Tormey and Claudia Carroll.