By David Hennessy
The Irish actor Jack Nolan gave one of his biggest fans a very special personal message to help her through the current lockdown.
Dana Willie is 19 and has down syndrome. When her grandfather contacted us, we were able to help her get a very special video message from her favourite actor to give her a lift in a very bleak time
Jack plays doctor Will Munro in Casualty and the Irish World interviewed Jack for a feature in March.
Grandfather Colin Willie commented on the interview on the Irish World’s Facebook page in April, saying: “I was wondering if you could help me. My grandaughter has down syndrome and she loves Casualty and she really loves Jack Nolan. I was wondering if Jack could send her a message because she is finding it very hard at the moment?”
The Irish World contacted the BBC to find out that Jack was more than happy to send Dana a message to help her through the current crisis.
In the video, Jack said: “Hi Dana. Jack Nolan here, I play Will on Casualty as I’m sure you’re aware because your grandad got in touch to say you’re such a big fan of the show.
“I just had to send you a message to thank you for your support.
“He also said that you’re having a big of a tough time at the minute with this lockdown business, as we all are. But I know you’re a keen footballer and rugby player and dancer and baker- You can do so much. I can just do one thing, kind of, which is pretend to be a doctor which is no help to anyone at the minute.
“So I just wanted to say: Keep the head up, keep smiling and we’ll all be together again soon.”
The video message had a great impact in lifting Dana’s spirits.
Grandfather Colin Willie told The Irish World: “She was over the moon, she had a cry.
“It did give her a lift and she watches it over and over again especially on a Saturday night when Casualty is on.
“She gets very emotional with things like that. She watches Casualty over and over again. She kept on to me about Jack Nolan and I thought, ‘Well what can I do?'”
“Dana had been finding the enforced restrictions very difficult.
“She’s a very sociable girl and she loves to be out with her friends. She used to text me and say, ‘Grandad, is it over yet?'”