Shona is my big sister. No matter how hard I tried to catch up as a child , Shona always remained a solid 18 months older than me. In spite of this we bonded over a shared love of rice pudding, fancy pages and erasers that smelt like strawberries.
Personality wise we were total opposites, Shona was a soft and gentle soul, happy to go along with whatever everyone else was doing and stare dreamily at the clouds on the way. I, on the other hand, had a steely determination to succeed at everything, even at that stage. I always competed with myself, as Shona had no time for my bull s**t, and felt I was a little dramatic for her taste.
Shona had a bright future in front of her. She was beautiful, smart, gentle and loving. Somebody would have been very lucky to have her as a wife someday, and she would have made an amazing mother to some very lucky children if she had been given the chance.
Sadly, this wasn’t to be. Between the ages of 13 and 15 Shona started struggling to do normal every day things and was eventually diagnosed with AVM Arteriovenous Malformations (a type of acquired brain injury). Her health began deteriorating very quickly and my parents were told that she would probably pass away within about a year. Now at the ripe old age of 38, Shona is still with us, although she is very brain damaged, needs 24 hour nursing care, and has lost all contact with the outside world.
I have lost the sister I thought I would share my life with. We will never laugh, cry and dance together, share late night phone calls, Friday night cocktails or girly shopping weekends. By naming this organisation “The Shona Project” I feel like she is, in spite of her illness, creating an impact on the world, and people will know who she is, and that shes still here.
Tammy Darcy, Founder, The Shona Project
You can hear Tammy chat to Ryan Tubridy about Shona, her illness, and their relationship here.
You can read an article Tammy shared with A Lust For Life here.