Caldicot transplant woman could be Gwent’s top carer

A CALDICOT woman, who says she’s been given a second chance at life, is one of five Gwent carers up for a Wales Care Award.

Helen Harries, 45 of Pill Row, nearly died in 1994 when she was in intensive care for two months after suffering from septicaemia following a kidney and pancreas transplant due to her diabetes.

But 15 years later, the 45 year old is fighting fit again and making the most of her life, which includes her job as activities co-ordinator at Caldicot’s Cherry Tree Care Home.

This sees her provide entertainment for the residents from pub lunches to sing-alongs with local school children.

Her hard work and dedication led to Mrs Harries being shortlisted in the “Promoting Fulfilled Lives” category of the awards, which recognise heroes and heroines in the care sector.

She said: “I am so grateful for every day that I wake up now and this job is my passion.

“It is such a rewarding feeling that you have provided support to people you care for.”

Also up for an award is Bron Afon Community Housing health and safety manager, Anthony Arcari.

Mr Arcari, 48, has been nominated for a prestigious Social Care Health and Safety award after producing films and texts which aim to make elderly people aware of the health and safety issues in their home.

Other nominees include Katrina Snell, 46, who has been nominated for the Nurse of the Year award after managing a 30-hour week working at Brynmawr’s Glanbury care home around raising her two children.

Mrs Snell, 46, said: “It feels unbelievable to be nominated. It’s a very rewarding job. A lot of our residents have dementia, so when I get a reaction for them all the hard work is worth while.”

Joyce Richards, 62 of Newport, is a nominee for the Peter Clarke Award for Promoting Excellence in Services for Children and Young People following her work as a residential child care worker at Cambridge House, Newport.

Helen Williams, 51, of Blaina, a senior carer and team leader at Brynmawr’s Beacon Lodge, which caters for adults aged 18 to 65 with physical disabilities, is shortlisted in the category for residential worker.

The winners will be announced at Cardiff’s City Hall on October 30.