Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 17, 2014

Local caregiver wins international award

Lee Ward
For The Independent

FLATWOODS — Edna Callihan of Flatwoods has been awarded a Shirer BRAVE Award.

Nominated by her daughter-in-law, Callihan has taken care of her granddaughter, Mariah Scott, who has tetra-amelia, a condition that caused her to be born without arms or legs.

The website Shire.com describes recipients as being “selfless, determined, courageous and hopeful.” The program selected 18 recipients worldwide last year who provided “consistent and dedicated care for others.

“Recipients of a BRAVE Award represent the millions of family caregivers, many of whom balance a job and household tasks at the same time as seeing to the intense medical and social needs of another person,” the website states. “Their consistent care of others is core to the way they live their lives, and the BRAVE Awards are one small way to recognize these individuals who work tirelessly to give their loved ones as normal and healthy a life as possible.”

Last year, 340 were nominated from 16 countries and were ranked by a BRAVE Awards Selection Committee made up of Shire employees worldwide and two independent caregivers.

The website states of Callihan: “For more than 22 years, Edna has served as the inspiring matriarch of her family by caring full time for her granddaughter, Mariah, who was born with the congenital absence of all four limbs. Edna’s inspiration and support has allowed Mariah to live as normal and healthy a life as possible, including basic life skills like independent eating and movement, trying out for the softball team and cheerleading squad and attending college.  Edna’s passion for helping Mariah thrive in the face of incredible adversity is inspiring.”

Callihan said she was surprised to learn she was a winner, in part because she had forgotten about it after she was told she was nominated.

“My son called and said, ‘Mom, get off the phone. They’re trying to call you to tell you you won,’” she said.

As a winner of the Shirer BRAVE Award, Callihan received $10,000, which she said he has used to “make Christmas nicer.”

She said she also plans to have some dental work done and to fly her two grandsons in Hawaii to the area for a visit.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.