Leitrim Rose, Sinead Flynn has just returned from a life changing experience after volunteering for a week in Belarus with Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children International.
Sinead, from Ballinamore, and 18 of her fellow Roses and Escorts travelled over to Vesnova Children's Mental Asylum, a state institution that is home to over 170 children who are suffering as a result either directly or indirectly from the nuclear tragedy that happened 30 years ago this April.
Sinead said the trip was “one of the most incredible experiences I have ever done!”
She said “Words can't describe it, memories which will always stay with me... I couldn't have gone out there with a better bunch of people - my rose family who was there for each other throughout it all.”
She paid tribute to all her supporters saying “a huge thank you to everyone who has donated and supported me before I headed over to these amazing kids.”
She concluded saying she will “always be grateful” for the opportunity.
The roses spent their time bringing smiles and love to all the kids as they suffer badly from the lack of one to one attention. Some of the Rose group have medical occupations and they were able to help deal with some of the important health issues over there.
The children suffer from a vast range of different health problems including very bad deformities, Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. The roses helped feed and treat the children in a loving manner which the kids are not accustomed to.
Voluntary CEO of Chernobyl Children International, Adi Roche said, "the effect that the Roses and Escorts have on these children is absolutely priceless. It gives these special children hope and shows them that there are people in this world who love them and care for them. They are a credit to their counties, to their families and to the Rose of Tralee Festival. Everyone can be proud of them".
As a group, the roses raised over €40,000 to be used for the children in the institution and this will play a massive part in providing basic health care to help and comfort the suffering children. They also brought over suitcases packed with supplies from simple items such as Sudocrem, Calpol, all things that cannot be got over in Belarus and toys and clothes too.
The Leitrim Rose Centre are extremely proud of Sinead and would like to encourage any girls to join them this year for the 2016 Leitrim Rose selection.