Category Archives: Humans of Kilcock

Humans of Kilcock – Lester Cassidy

“Live life to the fullest and focus on the positive. Be happy”

“23rd july 1998, just four days after my 19th birthday, it was just another Thursday at work as an apprentice carpenter, or so I thought. Little did I know, in the blink of an eye, my life would be turned upside down and changed forever.

Shortly after lunchtime, as I was working on a roof of a two story house on a building site in Leixlip, the scaffolding gave way from underneath me and I fell, about 24ft.

I’ll never forget trying to grab scaffolding bars mid fall trying to save myself or break my fall, but unlike you see in the movies it’s near impossible. I hit the ground with tremendous force. Unfortunately I landed on a scaffolding plank on its side, I’ll never forget the sound of hearing my back snap and the pain that followed.

Immediately I knew I was in Serious trouble. My legs went all pins and needles and I couldn’t move them. It seemed like an age waiting on the emergency services to arrive, but it probably only took about half an hour. I was rushed straight to the Mater hospital where I underwent a 5 hour operation.

The next day, surrounded by very upset and concerned family members and my girlfriend Rachel, a doctor explained to me that I had sustained a double fractured broken back but more importantly inoperable damage had been done to my spinal cord. I was paralysed from the waist down and I might never walk again.

During the next two weeks in the Mater spinal ward, I was bed bound, you have all day for things to play on your mind, maybe I was in denial but paralysis long term never really crossed my mind. I have always been a very positive guy, I just presumed I was going to make a full recovery and be back on my feet in no time. A specialist from The National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) came to assess me and it was decided that I would be going there in a couple weeks to learn to be independant again.

I must admit before being a patient in the NRH I never even knew it existed, and wow what an amazing place it was. I was surrounded by stroke patients, amputees, paraplegics, quadriplegics, tetraplegics(neck down) and brain injuries….there’s no feeling sorry for yourself there. There is always someone much worse off than you. All the staff from nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and occupational therapists do the most amazing job with one goal in mind, to get the patient back to being as independant and healthy as possible, they are inspirational.

I was still very sick when I arrived at the NRH, I just couldn’t stop vomiting, it was like my body just couldn’t adapt to being paralysed. Kildare won the Leinster final that week and Davey Dalton (Kilcock legend) brought a few of the players in to see me. That visit gave me great encouragement and belief, I stopped getting sick that day and was finally on the road to recovery.

Being put into a wheelchair for the first time, that was very traumatic. It was a strange and scary feeling, I think myself Rachel and the whole family cried for most of that day. A family therapist came to see us and I have to say it was one of the toughest days of my life. I never looked back from that day on, I am a very positive person, I was ready to move forward, that was my only “bad” day.

After I had my back brace removed I worked very hard, learning how to dress myself again, to go to the toilet, building up strength in the physio department each day so that I could push about in the wheelchair. I was determined to make the best of my situation. I even learned how to drive. Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) set up a driving programme for patients, I signed up and on my first lesson I was out on the busy dublin roads, I nearly had a heart attack.

I had great fun with all the nurses, doctors and staff each day, they filled my days with fun divilment and laughter, you wouldn’t feel like you were in a hospital at all.
I got to meet some of the most amazing people, patients who were going through the exact same journey as me. The bonds that you make in hospital are very special, you are there for each other, you become almost family. I guess it’s a bit like War Vets, you have mutual respect for one another and maybe only people who have lived through such a life altering experience can truly understand the other. I’m glad to say I’m still in contact with a few of these very dear friends.

Apart from the amazing support I received during this time from Rachel and my family, I also was blessed with a super network of friends and a very warm community spirit of my home town Kilcock. Nobody once treated me any differently when I returned home in a wheelchair, this made my transition so much easier to just move on with my life and not dwell on the past.

Shortly after my release from NRH myself and Rachel went travelling for a few months,we saw the world, places like Australia and New Zealand, it was a truly amazing experience. Then we settled down, built a house and got married. We have been truly blessed with three amazing kids. I am a stay at home dad and I have to say I love it. It’s the most rewarding job in the world. My kids are everything to me.

Alright I never got power or feeling back in my legs, but I did recover to have a powerful life.

Live life to the fullest and focus on the positive. Be happy” – Lester Cassidy.

Humans of Kilcock – Shane Farrell

“To be honest it’s hard thinking that on May the 5th I should be standing with all my Kildare team mates listening to the national anthem ahead of our Leinster Championship game. Instead I’ll be at home looking at the news. It breaks my heart.

Obviously it’s heart breaking about the Leinster Minor Championship, I spent the last few years of my life building up to it and then to get it taken away from you, it’s hard to take.

I do think there will be some competition for county later in the year but whenever that is I don’t know but I have to stay positive and hope there will be. I also like to think that we might get some club action later in the year also.

I am realistic though and know that there are other things more important in life and you have to think that things always could be a lot worse. At the end of the day football will still be waiting on the other side of this so that’s good thought to have”

Humans of Kilcock – Hannah Duffy Logan

“Today is world IBD Day (Inflammatory Bowel Disease/Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) I have been suffering with Crohns Disease since 2011. I’ve had countless blood transfusions, iron infusions and have been getting fed through TPN. It was a very difficult journey. It started with severe stomach pain, before throwing up everything I ate. I had bleeding and was unable to get up out of bed. I lost nearly 6 stone which was over half my body weight.

When I visited my GP he assumed I had a eating disorder, as did many other people that I met. I went to A&E countless times until they finally did a colonoscopy and it was determined it was Crohns Disease. After this I was in hospital for months, getting fed through TPN, on countless medications until they had no choice to remove half my bowel because I wasn’t improving.

I got on great after this, maybe just a few admissiosn until 2019, when my world was turned upside down. It was back with a vengeance. I have now severe complicated Crohns. I have contracted C diff while I was in hospital which was agonizing, I lost a lot of weight again and had to get fed through TPN yet again. I have 2 fistulas which may need surgery and I’m on 3 immunosuppressants, one which includes a chemotherapy drug. For that one I go to hospital for 2 hours every 4 weeks for an infusion.

I’ve had 8 admissions since June 2019 and I am still flaring since then. I really hope they find a cure, this can be devastating on your life. I’ve been out of work since then and I have only recently been able to start going for walks because I lost so much muscle, after been once confined to bed”