A fundraiser will be held for the son and granddaughter of a Co. Kerry couple living in Massachusetts at the Kerry Hall in Yonkers on Saturday, October 18.
Tena and Jimmy Maunsell have five children, all living beside them in Medford, Massachusetts.
The Maunsells, who have worked hard through the years to provide for their children, have a daughter who was born with cystic fibrosis and is currently rejecting a double lung transplant she received many years ago.
In the midst of supporting their daughter, Tena and Jimmy were devastated to discover that their son, Shamus, 42, has Parkinson’s disease. And on top of all that, Shamus’ seven-year-old daughter, Hannah, also has cystic fibrosis and needs to wear a feeding tube in her stomach night and day.
While Jimmy Maunsell was at work on Tuesday at his contracting job, Tena took time out of her day to speak with the Irish Voice about the difficulty the family is currently going through.
“It’s so hard on Hannah. The kids at school are always asking her what is sticking out of her clothes, the poor child,” said Tena despondently.
Although Hannah has the ability to eat, she requires the feeding tube at night to ingest certain foods and vitamins to keep her heath intact.
Two years ago, while Shamus, who works with his father, and his wife Jennifer were busy looking after Hannah’s needs and those of their other two children, they discovered the overwhelming news that Shamus showed clear signs of Parkinson’s disease.
“Ah, Shamus, the poor devil, at times we all get discouraged. It’s hard, you know, but I guess you have to take what you get,” said Tena sadly.
Shamus, like most Parkinson’s suffers, has a constant shake in his hand. Up to recently his speech was affected, but a trip to the hospital meant doctors changing his medications and, according to Tena, his speech is much better as a result.
“It was hard there for a while, his (Shamus) speech was affected. When you were talking to him on the phone you wouldn’t know what he was saying and it was very frustrating on him too, the poor devil, but now thank God after the few days at the hospital he is much clearer to understand,” said Tena.
Shamus, said Tena, is a bright spark.
“He doesn’t complain at all. He gets on with it I suppose,” she said.
Asked why his name is spelt Shamus and not the traditional Gaelic spelling (Seamus), Tena, with a hearty laugh, explains she didn’t want people in the U.S. calling her son Sea Mus.
Although, like any mother would, Tena worries.
“It scares me, you know. He told me he couldn’t feel his leg when he moves it from the clutch to the brake when he is driving. I hope he doesn’t have an accident,” said the concerned mother.
Tena and Jimmy spend every weekend of the summer in the Catskills in upstate New York, also known as the Irish Riviera. Through the years, the Maunsells have developed lifelong friendships with dozens of other Irish immigrants.
As a result, and knowing how difficult life has been for the three generations of Maunsells, friends of Jimmy and Tiny have organized a fundraiser to offset some of the costs associated with the medications and treatments for both Shamus and his daughter Hannah.
The National League winning New York football team of the 1960s, teammates of Jimmy Maunsell, as well as friends and colleagues, have come together to support and help the Maunsell family.
Some of the great footballers will be present the night of the fundraiser.
The fundraiser will take place on Sunday, October 18, at the Kerry Hall, 305 McLean Avenue, Yonkers from 3-10 p.m. Donations can be sent to Shamus Maunsell in care of Sonny Kenna, 18 Florence Avenue, Dobbs Ferry, New York 10522.
For information call Tom and Yvonne Furlong at 518-622-9896 or Sonny Kenna at 914-693-7233.