Grace Gilliland with her parents Olga and Neil
There is sadness in south Donegal at the death of Grace Gilliland, the young Bundoran woman whose brave battle with a rare neurological illness won her the admiration of so many.
Grace Gilliland passed away peacefully in her home in Bundoran on Sunday night surrounded by her family.
The 23-year-old, a daughter of Olga and Neil, suffered from Rett Syndrome, a rare genetic neurological and developmental disorder.
But throughout her short life, she was rarely seen without an infectious smile on her face. She fought this illness with extreme courage and served as an inspiration to everybody who knew her.
Grace was synonymous with Bundoran. She was part of the community and in her own way, lived life to the full.
Her story and determination attracted the attention of many well-known people who made a point of visiting her including Johnny Sexton, Brian O’Driscoll, Michael Murphy, Ronan Keating, Nathan Carter, and Westlife.
A close friend said: “It is heartbreaking for us all - Grace was very much part of all our lives here in Bundoran and down at the St Agnes Day Centre in Donegal.
“She may not have been able to speak but she communicated with everybody through her eyes and her smiles - she understood everything that was happening around her.
“She probably enjoyed the most love from her parents that any young woman could hope for. They were always at her side - they simply devoted their lives to Grace and simply never gave up.”
Grace’s remains are reposing at family home from 12pm to 9pm today, and tomorrow from 10am to 9pm. House strictly private at all other times and on the morning of the funeral. Removal on Wednesday morning to arrive at the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Bundoran for Mass of the Resurrection at 11am, and afterwards to Lakelands Crematorium, Dublin Rd, Cavan for Cremation Service at 3pm. All welcome. Family flowers only please and donations in lieu if so desired to St. Agnes Day Centre, Donegal Town, care of Conlan and Breslin Funeral Directors or by donation box at family home or Church.