The Dad of the Year Award rewards dedicated fathers who go that extra mile to spend quality time with their children despite any challenges they may face. This could mean showing outstanding support through a particularly tough time, or working extra hard and defying all the odds to provide for their family.
Our 2012 Dad of the Year is John Quinn!
Dad of the Year, John Quinn pictured with his son Darragh
Here is his story:
For any expecting family, losing a child is an unimaginable hardship and sadly for John and Avril Quinn, they lost their first son, Sean, at just 28 weeks after Avril was attacked by a dog. This loss was worsened when Avril suffered two more miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies, and Avril began to lose hope of ever becoming a mother.
Despite the tragedy the couple had already faced, John was always by his wife’s side and continued to reassure Avril that some day they would become parents. In June 2011, Avril conceived again, but at 28 weeks complications arose, and she was immediately rushed to hospital. With Avril in so much pain, it was obvious to her doctors that there was something seriously wrong, and tests relieved she had an abcess on her ovary. Unfortunately, they would be unable to operate until she had given birth, so Avril spent the remaining weeks of her pregancny in hospital.
On February 20th 2012, Darragh was born by caesarean section, but the newborn had difficulty breathing and was rushed to intensive care. With his son so ill, it was a blow to John to discover that the birth had disturbed Avril’s abscess, and that she would now require specialist surgery – which could not be performed for another six weeks. With the family they always wanted now so close to becoming a reality, John became mother and father to little Darragh. It was John who learned how to feed, change and soothe the newborn, and with his wife unable to visit Darragh, John brought her videos and pictures so she could see him too. Baby Darragh and his mum were discharged after a week, but with the surgery still to come Avril remained on bed-rest.
Once again, John took over the duties of caring for their son, but also became the primary care for his wife. Despite all his hard work, Avril’s condition worsened, and she was rushed to hospital, knowing that John was there to care for her son was some comfort, but the prospect of emergency surgery was tough to face considering everything the family had been through already. Thankfully, the surgery was a success and after Avril had made a full recovery the family was finally reunited. As Avril had missed so much of Darragh’s first few weeks, John showed her how to care for Darragh, how he liked his forehead to be rubbed and the songs John sang to him. Jonh has showed his wife and son so much love and support throughout this tough time, and we are proud to have presented him with this award.
Dad of the Year 2011, Simon Owens
Dad of the Year 2011, Simon Owens pictures with his wife Aoife
Here is his story:
Simon Owens and his wife Aoife, married and became pregnant in the summer of 2007. However, early on in Aoife’s pregnancy, her kidneys began to fail and their son was born 11 weeks premature, weighing in at a tiny 2lbs, 8ozs. Simon juggled looking after both his ill wife and premature baby, who was in intensive care, making sure to visit his son Rhys twice a day for six weeks.
Four weeks after their baby was discharged from hospital, Aoife began a two-year struggle with her failing kidneys, undergoing dialysis eight hours each night. During that time, Simon had to assume the role of chief income earner, housewife and mother, on top of being a father. Thankfully, in 2009, Aoife received a much-needed kidney transplant. Simon continued to care for her and their son throughout her surgery and recovery, providing constant reassurance for Rhys when he was worried and scared about his mum’s health.
The following year, Aoife fell pregnant and their second child, Nathan, was also born prematurely and had to spend three weeks in intensive care. Yet again, Simon was there every step of the way. Aoife says: “I just don’t know how he’s managed to keep the family smiling. He is the rock of our family and there aren’t enough awards in the world for him.” She sums up her husband’s crucial role in all of their lives when she says: “Rhys looks up to Simon so much already, and I know Nathan will too.”