Emma optimises her design skills for Mercy Hospital

St Mary’s Secondary School student Emma O’Callaghan achieved national recognition this week when the family room she designed for the Children’s Leukaemia Unit at the Mercy Hospital in Cork city was opened. Emma, a fifth year student and a bronze Gaisce awardee, entered a Facebook competition to redesign a family room in the hospital, and after being named winner last July, teamed up with Denise O’Connor and Catherine Crowe of Optimise Design to make-over the family room.

Emma was delighted with her win. “I was so shocked that I was picked for this, I hadn’t told my family as I didn’t think I would get it! I love fashion and style and working with Optimise Design was an amazing opportunity to see into the world of interior design.” Emma is aware of the trauma faced by many, many people. “Cancer hasn’t affected my life but it has affected people I know,” she said. Her hard work will be appreciated by patients and their families, and she enjoyed every aspect of the project. “I had such fun working on this circus-themed room, making it as comfortable as possible for a family going through probably one of the roughest patches in their lives.”

Michéal Sheridan, CEO of the Mercy Hospital Foundation, said that the Mercy Hospital was very excited about the DFS Makeover. “This is the only independent unit outside of Dublin. We are currently dealing with over 40 children and their families from Cork and occasionally Kerry, Limerick and Waterford. Many of our families travel long distances and spend a long time waiting around at a very difficult time in their lives. Thanks to the support of DFS, Gaisce and Optimise Design, we now have a uniquely comfortable space for them to have quality family time together. It is truly interesting to see how, through good design, a clinical space can be transformed into a homely, welcoming and comfortable space for all age groups.”