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Saoirse’s story: a creative flair that lit up lockdown

Saoirse clicked refresh one more time. She couldn’t wait. It was Sunday, and that meant a new art project was about to hit the family inbox. She had loved everything Helium Arts had sent so far, but dressing up as a milkmaid was a definite highlight. Her mum, Sheila, thought it was hilarious – watching her and her sister get the angle of Vermeer’s jug exactly right. 

“When I say ‘remake’, I mean they actually acted out the painting! Saoirse was the milkmaid, and her sister did it with her. They had a ball.” Sheila

It was a welcome change from the nothingness of lockdown weekends. Living with hydrocephalus (a build-up of fluid on the brain), most of the time her cerebral shunt meant that Saoirse was free to get on with being, well, Saoirse. But there was always the risk of blockage, and so many hospital check-ups! Not to mention COVID-19. It was such a huge unknown, and her mum was pretty strict about not having visitors to the house.

Saoirse missed her friends, but at the same time, there was something about home-schooling that worked. She’d spent so much time in hospital, Saoirse had been held back a year at school, and her diagnosis meant she would always need a little extra time and support. Bizarrely, COVID-19 gave her that. Saoirse loved the extra one-to-one time she got with her resource teachers. She was flying – and is proud to have made the jump from fourth to fifth grade reading.

But life isn’t all about school, and when her mum saw Helium Arts on Facebook, she knew it would be the perfect creative outlet. It was just so accessible. No long drives, no time pressure. A great way for Saoirse to get creative without the stress of ‘keeping up’.    

She was right. 

Saoirse loved Helium Arts. She’s tried so many new things, and isn’t afraid to branch out on her own – sewing, making dolls clothes, and learning crochet. 

“I always have these brilliant ideas, but I never knew how to begin. Now I can! You get to try all these different techniques you didn’t even know were possible.” Saoirse

Her enthusiasm is contagious. Her sister loves helping out, and her mum is almost as excited by the postal drops as Saoirse!

“Everything looks so magical… Inside it will tell you what you need – tape, scissors, glue, markers. We aren’t an artsy family. But now we have a big box of art. ” Sheila

Sometimes it only takes a single spark to light a fire, and Helium Arts gave Saoirse and her family the ideas they needed to get creative. After all, everyone marches to the beat of their own drum – and when Helium tapped into Saoirse’s, she found a creativity that would light-up, and last beyond, lockdown. 

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+ 353 (0) 44 93 96 960


Helium Arts is a registered charity and compliant with the requirements of the Charities Regulator, the national regulatory authority for charities in Ireland


CHY Number: 19236
Registered Charity Number (RCN): 20075200
Companies Registration Office: 486621


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Helium Arts
Top Floor
22 Pearse Street
Co. Westmeath
N91 VYP0



This website has been part funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.