A cathartic meeting helps Neil carry sister Donna’s legacy

by Sylvia Pownall
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[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]The brother of a Balbriggan woman knocked down and killed while cycling to work has told how meeting the woman who tried to save her life has been “a gift”.

Neil Fox says he has made a “friend for life” in Amanda Burnby, who rushed to his sister Donna’s side and performed CPR as the young woman lay dying.

Donna, 30, from Balbriggan, was killed when her bike was hit by a truck in the North Dock/East Wall area as she cycled to work in a pharmacy on September 6, 2016.

She was one of three children and a fitness fanatic – and had been due to marry her partner before tragedy struck.

Now her younger brother, Neil, who has become a vocal campaigner for road safety, says meeting the woman who tried to save her has been “cathartic”.

He told Dublin Gazette: “I did a short video for RSA for the televised Remembrance Day mass which Amanda saw and she got in touch via Facebook.

“I was delighted, as it meant a lot to meet the person who tried to save Donna.”

Neil met 54-year-old Amanda, who works as cabin crew with British Airways, in a Dublin pub a few weeks before Christmas last year and they have been firm friends ever since.

He revealed: “Like Donna, she has a great love for animals and is such a warm person. It was a consolation to know that this was the person who came to Donna’s aid.

“It was cathartic for both of us, that first meeting. Of course, it still comes up when we meet, but now there’s also a lot of normal chatting and laughter. Amanda has been a gift for me, really.”

Neil said he found it hard to believe that this would be the family’s third Christmas without Donna – and he urged drivers to take care on the roads.

He also voiced his disappointment that draft legislation proposing a Minimum Passing Distance to protect cyclists was “languishing” on the Attorney General’s desk.

Reflecting on Donna’s death, he said: “I know others helped in different ways that day, a motorcyclist especially who saw the collision.

“It was good to meet these people in the Coroner’s Court in March. So many lives are affected by accidents; you never realise this unless it comes to your own door.

“I think of the [truck] driver often and wonder how he is doing. It had to be horrendous for him and his family – there are only victims in these situations.”

Neil, who is due to start a degree in politics next year, added: “Christmas can be difficult. The holiday season is stressful, so I’d urge people to be extra vigilant on the roads in the run up to it.

“People are always in a hurry to nowhere! A few moments can save a life.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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