'She constantly has a smile on her face and is a credit to us,' says mother of Tipp heroine

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Tipperary student Kellie Carroll

Tipperary student Kellie Carroll was chosen by regional radio station Beat 102-103 to represent the South East at SHINE Festival by The Shona Project.

This national, virtual, and interactive event, on International Women’s Day, March 8, had thousands of people registered.

SHINE Festival is an empowering event for the girls of Ireland, bringing together young women to hear from over 80 inspirational women from Vicky Phelan to Laura Whitmore, all the while interacting in a safe and positive space that celebrates themselves, each other, and female empowerment.

Tipperary’s 13-year-old SHINE HERO joined Carlow student Roisín Cody in representing the South East on a panel of six other nationwide HEROES, whose unique stories aimed to inspire the thousands in attendance. In February, The Shona Project in partnership with Beat, iRadio, SPIN 1038 and SPIN South West launched a search for Ireland’s eight SHINE HEROES with support from Life Style Sports.

With the aim of unearthing teenage girls who have displayed tenacious courage, kindness, resilience, or community spirit over the last twelve months, just two were selected to represent each region.

Kellie is one of those girls. Kellie, who was nominated by her mother Aisling, told Beat that despite being diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis, Scoliosis and a Pars 5 defect three years ago, Kellie puts her brother, who is living with microcephaly and autism, first every time.

“She travels regularly to Crumlin for appointments and treatments but never complains,” Aisling told Beat.

“She constantly has a smile on her face and is a credit to us.

“Despite this, her daily concern is the welfare of her 11-year-old brother.

“She never gets cross with him and will go out of her way to take time to reassure him and cuddle him. She is an absolute hero and brings love and laughter into the life of anyone who meets her.”

An award-winning social enterprise, The Shona Project has worked with Beat and other partners to deliver SHINE over the years. This was a one day, annual, on-location gathering in Waterford city that attracted over 1,200 transition year girls from across the South East of Ireland.

Due to Covid-19, a large-scale on-site event of this nature is no longer possible, but the pandemic has prompted organisers to go bigger.

Shine 2021 morphed into an inspirational, online three-day festival, created by young girls and women for young girls all over Ireland.

Tammy Darcy, Founder of The Shona Projec, said: “At Shona, we have seen first-hand the challenges that our young women are experiencing.

“Covid has increased levels of anxiety, stress, and isolation.

“We wanted to create an event at which everyone who attends, feels seen, appreciated, and represented.

“SHINE is a wonderful event, and this year, as we go virtual, we have brought together what is quite possibly the biggest gathering of inspirational, authentic, smart, beautiful and real women you’ve ever seen.”

Sharron McCann, Director of Buying at Life Style Sports, said: “At Life Style Sports, we’re delighted to partner with Beat and Shine in our ongoing efforts to support, empower and inspire Irish women and girls. We feel passionate about body positivity and inclusivity. Sport and exercise are a great benefit to strong mental health and resilience, so we’re really excited to be part of this movement, supporting such important topics for young Irish girls.”

Shine 2021 kicked off on March 8 for International Women’s Day and involved over 80 speakers across six stages.