McGovern was recognized for his role in helping to establish the Tania McCabe Foundation. As Alan explained:
The Tania McCabe Foundation was established by a group of friends following the death of Tania McCabe and one of her twins Zach while she was giving birth at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. The surviving twin, Adam, was in serious distress and was not expected to live through the night. Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital did not have the specialised incubator needed for a baby in Adam’s condition and Adam was transferred to Holles Street Hospital, Dublin, and remained there for 2 months. Thankfully Adam is now a very healthy little boy.
Rather than dwell on the horrendous nature of what had occurred I, along with Tania’s husband, Aidan and other friends set-up a foundation in Tania’s name. The purpose of the Foundation was to raise money to donate specialised equipment that is required for premature babies. To date we have raised over €100,000 and this year we donated two items of incubation equipment to treat pre-term babies for Our Lady of Lourdes and Holles Street Hospitals.
This has had a really positive impact on a negative incident and as a founding member I am very proud of the difference our Foundation has made already to so many people. This was evident on the handover of the incubators when people in attendance were visibly emotional. It is estimated that dozens and eventually hundreds of lives will be saved by this equipment. As far as I am concerned if we save one baby’s life with this equipment then it has all been worth the effort.
From a developmental perspective I have enhanced my interpersonal and communication skills by dealing with people from all walks of life. I have learned the importance of showing empathy when dealing with sensitive areas and speaking to people contributing to the Foundation who have themselves lost loved ones. Volunteering for the Foundation has been time consuming but rewarding. I regularly say to myself that it is not about what I have done with my time for the Foundation yesterday or in the past but it is what I am going to do for the Foundation today and tomorrow.
It has been a very challenging year trying to get a balance between volunteering for the Foundation, working, family life and of course College. The Irish School of Ecumenics (ISE) has been extremely supportive throughout my two academic years and without such support I would not have been able to achieve this balance. To me this is what the Trinity College Dean of Students Roll of Honour is all about. It is not just about recognising what an individual student has done but more of a collective award acknowledging achievements which could not be achieved without a number of contributors. I have gratefully accepted the certification and in doing so I would like to thank the staff and students connected with the ISE.