Longford family's summer of anguish

Liam Cosgrove


Liam Cosgrove



Kavanagh fundraiser

Eileen and Audrey Kavanagh with Hazel Robinson and Lilly May Kavanagh. Photo: Michelle Ghee.

The mother of a Longford family who have endured no fewer than three setbacks and tragedies in less than a month has issued a heartfelt thank you message to locals who turned out for a special benefit night at the weekend.

Mother of five Audrey Kavanagh said she and her partner Johnny had been amazed by the level of empathy which had been shown to her family since news of their own heartache was made public.

First revealed on the Leader's website www.longfordleader.ie last Thursday, the family has more reason than most to assume fortune is very much against them.

Those emotions were ones which can be traced back to the beginning of July when mother of five Audrey Kavanagh underwent major surgery at Mullingar's Midland Regional Hospital.

A week later and while recuperating at home, word came through that her 14 year-old son, Leo, had fallen from a 25 ft high wall and onto tracks at Longford Railway Station.

The teenager, who broke both his legs as a result, underwent corrective surgery as a consequence.
Days later, an even greater affliction would hit the family when Audrey's oldest child, James passed away suddenly at home from a suspected epileptic fit.

And just when Audrey and the family thought the worst was behind them, Johnny was diagnosed with cancer.

"You couldn't make this kind of story up," said Audrey.

“Has someone some kind of spell over us?” Audrey asked.

To make matters worse, Audrey said the couple's youngest child, 13-year-old Lilly May is struggling to come to terms with what happened to her late brother.

"Lilly May is an epileptic as well and now she thinks the same thing is going to happen to her," added Audrey.

"I just keep saying to her everyone is different. I'm just trying to keep her happy and for her not to be thinking."

In a bid to support the family, friends have rallied around by setting up a GoFundMe page while a special benefit night was held last Friday night at Andy Bryne's in Longford town.

Giving her reaction to the occasion and the huge outpouring of compassion locally, Audrey said she and her family were very much taken aback by it all.

“It went very well,” she said.

“There was a good turnout and we are all very grateful to people who donated and who came out on the night.”

Lily May and Audrey's older daughter, Eileen certainly contributed to the evening's entertainment as both sang in front of those in attendance.

Despite the seriousness of the situation still confronting the Kavanagh's, there was cause for some optimisim on Monday as both Lily May and Leo started opened a fresh chapter in their own lives by starting secondary school at Templemichael College.

“It will be good for them,” said Audrey, somewhat emotionally.

“And Johnny is coming home today (Monday) too.”

Life mightn't be a bed of roses for the Kavanagh's at the minute, but from the evidence of the past few days, Longford and it's people are very much behind them.

*To contribute and to find out more, log on to https://www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-james-kavanagh