How it all began
The ISDA logo was created Shaun Lynch a founding member and former Chairman of the organisation. The daisy type flower with one petal falling represented to Shaun and his wife Liz what the death of their son Richard meant to their family. They had been a happy family and suddenly a petal had fallen.
In 1976, following the sudden death of her baby son, Brendan, from Sudden infant death syndrome (Cot Death), Eimear Berry founded the Irish Sudden Infant Death Association (I.S.I.D.A). The inaugural meeting of ISIDA took place on Friday, July 2nd 1976 and was attended by fifteen people. Those attending had responded to a letter Eimear had placed in the newspapers inviting other parents who had experienced “cot death” to come to a meeting in her home with a view of forming an association to support and help parents bereaved by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
From that initial membership of fifteen, ISIDA grew into a national organisation with a membership of 3,500. It established a national office (which operates from the Carmichael Centre, Dublin), set up a 24/7 emergency support helpline, assembled a national register of qualified professional counsellors to provide a range of services to suddenly bereaved families, and established the National Paediatric Mortality Register to promote and support research into SIDS and support the delivery of educational initiatives to help reduce the incidence of SIDS.
In 2012, further to demand for support by families bereaved suddenly in circumstances other than SIDS, the organisation changed its name to FirstLight and expanded its remit to provide support to families suddenly bereaved of a child up to 18 years.
Thousands of families have been supported by ISIDA/FirstLight and 43 years on, we remain the only organisation providing such professional services to suddenly bereaved families, either within or outside of the State’s services.
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Úna Crawford O’Brien is an Irish actor, best known for her role as Renee Phelan in the long-running soap opera, Fair City which has been broadcasting since 1997. Additionally, she has done a lot of stage work, including Menopause the Musical and Grumpy Old Women.
She was previously married to Brian O’Brien, and they have two sons, Tim, and Fionn. They also had a baby daughter Sorcha, who sadly passed away at 17 weeks, in a cot death. After the death of her daughter Sorcha, Úna became involved with FirstLight.
Úna’s partner is Irish actor, Bryan Murphy and supports FirstLight as an Ambassador in many ways, specifically around FirstLight’s Mile in Memory Walks.
Board Members and the Chairman are volunteers and donate their time without payment. FirstLight is committed to complying with and implementing The Governance Code for Community, Voluntary and Charitable Organisations of Ireland and is working towards these standards.
Oliver Blackwell: Chair
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Ciara Regan: Secretary
Deirdre Magliozzi: Treasurer
Charles O’ Brien
FirstLight complies with the Statement for Guiding Principles for Fundraising and formally discussed and adopted the Statement at a Board Meeting.