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2015 i-CARE Winner - Robbie Ball

Robbie BallNational Winner - 1st Place

Many years ago one of the most wonderful ladies I’ve ever known told me that during a normal progression through life one would either end up as a carer or being cared for. At the time I didn’t fully understand what she meant.

My name is Robbie and I work as a Healthcare Assistant with Bluebird Care in Ennis. My calling as a carer literally started with a phone call to the Bluebird Care office saying would
I like to come to the office for an interview having recently summited a CV. Little did I know that day while I was making my way to the office that I was about to embark one of the most amazing and rewarding journeys of my life.

After my successful interview I was offered a position with Bluebird Care, which I gladly accepted and will always be grateful and may never be able to repay the wealth of knowledge and experience gained. My role at Bluebird Care presently involves caring for, and supporting a male customer with Huntington’s disease (HD), which is a neurodegenerative genetic disorder. To say that he is one of the most extraordinary and gifted people I ever met may be an understatement.

One day I was sitting with him while he was eating his lunch, he suddenly stopped eating and put down his knife and fork and turned in my direction and asked me “why I became a carer?” Before I could answer he just said, “I’m so glad you did” and picked up his knife and fork and continued eating without another word being said. Later on that day what he had said earlier was still very fresh in my mind and it wouldn’t leave me and I began to reflect on why I really became a carer, and what it means to me. Then mental images came to me and they began to answer what I was asking and I found myself back in his home and came to realise that: when he chooses the clothes he wants to wear in the morning and seeing that look of victory in his eyes in his constant battle to remain independent.

As I tie his shoelaces I try to step into those shoes at times and see the challenges and issues he faces on a daily basis. When we laugh and joke we do it together, we share our life experiences and learn things from each other. He knows that I accept him for the person that he is and I will never judge him. In spite of people’s disabilities they have the same needs and desires as any other person.

I became over time an extended member of the family without actually knowing it. The good days far out-number the not so good days and the reward just seeing him smile and knowing that he has confidence in me in all the tasks and duties I perform with him.

I’m not just a carer I am a friend and a companion and at times an advocate. Even though I work on my own I’m never really alone as I know I have the support of one of the most wonderful and competent team of people back in the Bluebird Care office anyone could ever have the pleasure to be a part of.

Knowing that they are only a phone call or a visit away gives me the confidence, ability and strength to give the best care possible because in my roll I’m not only representing myself, Bluebird Care, but I’m also representing them. I’m so proud to say they are my colleagues and friends. I have fully come to understand now about ending up as a carer or being cared for and what my mother meant all those years ago.