Ballickmoyler’s Sharon Malloy has been honoured with Best Friend of the Year, at the 2011 People of the Year Awards.
Sharon was nominated for the award by Ian Lawlor as a tribute to her sincere and genuine friendship and the strength she showed in helping him through his most difficult and darkest time.
Ian has spent many years battling with drug addiction, and originally met Sharon on a rehabilitation programme where Sharon worked. While Sharon’s role came to an end before Ian had completed his recovery programme, she continued to be there for him, extending the true hand of friendship to a person who was in desperate need.
“I met Ian when he was in drug rehab. When my time was coming to an end he said that he was sorry I was leaving. I gave him my phone number and told him that if he ever wanted to talk just call me. When your in rehab, its like a cocoon. But when you leave, in a sense its only the beginning,” she told the Leinster Express.
That was the beginning of what has blomossed over the last five years into a close friendship between the pair and thier families.
Although Ian’s struggles were difficult he feels they would have been much harder without Sharon by his side.
“When I was expressing myself to Sharon, she not only listened but heard everything I had to say. That’s all you need, you know, when you feel lonely or down, or depressed, or missing something or someone, you only need an ear,” she said.
Clearly delighted with her award, Sharon said Ian was very brave.
“It was a huge honour and the award has taken pride of place in my house, but Ian was so brave. In nominatiing me, he had to talk about his own addictions.
“But he’s doing really well now, he’s volunteering at an elderly accomodation shelter and hopes to go and do a course in Carlow next year. When I met him, Ian was very young and very vulnerable. I did a lot of metamorphis with him and he really has metamorphised. It’s trult amazing,” he said.
Sharon feels that the People of the Year award, has also brought Ian closer with the rest of her family.
Ian only told Sharon he had nominated her minutes before she got a call to say she would be receving an award.
“It was such a lovely night. We were so well looked after by RTÉ, Rehab and Quinn Healthcare who sponsored the Best Friend of the Year award.”
Sharon was joined at the star-studded ceremony, which was broadcast live on RTÉ by her husband, Mike and her two daughters. Ian and his partner Antonio were also with Sharon.