Snow one gets left behind

Michelle Townsend

Oliver and his digger save the day to get Gerry to hospital for Cancer treatment.

Her name was Emma, and though she came as a shock for Ireland , delivering snow and curtailing progress, she will be remembered by many, as the storm that let us out to play.

And while there were some people who were cut off from travel, others who could not get to work, and education which had to stall, the impact of the snow and the lack of freedom for them was just an inconvenience.

However, for one man being cut off from travel posed a serious challenge to his health.

Gerry Quinn, who lives in the Killinarden area of Tallaght, is a cancer patient and while the snow blocked roads and stopped traffic, he badly needed to get to hospital to receive  cancer treatment.

“He had an operation and hadn’t had his bandages changed since the week before last”, Gerry’s neighbour Sharon Coleman explained.

“The army were meant to come up to change his bandages but they just couldn’t with the snow. He was just left there.”

When asked about the severity of the situation, Sharon said the snow was just “unimaginable” and that the local council were doing very little to help them out.

“We mailed them, we tagged them in so many posts [on Facebook]. There is no way we would have cleared the whole road [ourselves]”, she said.

And things were looking bleak for Gerry’s situation. Despite the fact he was surrounded by caring neighbours who were dedicated to helping him, there was a definite sense of hopelessness – a willingness to help out, but no means to achieve it. “We just kept saying to each other, ‘we need to get Gerry out’”, said Sharon.

Luckily for Gerry, help came in one of the most unexpected ways, in the shape of 98fm’s Jeremy Dixon who was out reporting live in Tallaght, which was one of the worst affected areas in Dublin during the storm.

Dixon learned of Gerry’s situation talking to Sharon and her neighbours while he was out reporting. The reporter decided to use his platform to highlight Gerrys plight.

Oliver Allen, who runs his own business Pavemak Tarmacadam and Asphalt, was listening on the radio and decided to travel from Swords to Tallaght with a digger to help.

“Only for 98fm, we wouldn’t have gotten Gerry out of here”, Sharon said.

“Oliver heard it on the radio and he came up. He told us, ‘I won’t stop, I’ll get him out’.”

Through Oliver’s kindness, Gerry was able to get to the hospital in time to have his bandages changed and receive medical care.

“Once you hear the name ‘Tallaght’ in the media it’s dragged down, but this shows that good stories can come from here”, Sharon said.

Gerry’s story touched a lot of people after Sharon shared what happened on Facebook.

His bandages may have physically saved him that day, but it was community spirit, kindness and dedication that got him to that point.

Storm Emma brought out the worst in the weather, but the best in people.