A Limerick boy, who inspired children around the world to stand up to online bullies has been named Limerick Person of the Year.
Luke Culhane, (14), who was also named Young Person of the Year by French newspaper Mon Quotidien last year, received the award in Limerick on Thursday for creating an online video highlighting the scourge of cyber bullying.
Luke, from Castletroy View, was inspired to stand up to online trolls, after being a victim of bullying himself. Through his powerful video, Create No Hate, Luke has helped countless children, teenagers and indeed adults to cope the trauma of online taunting and intimidation.
Accepting the award, Luke said: “Thank you so much to everyone that supported the video, the main thing is that helped loads of other children, after I Skyped a school in South Africa it inspired them to make their own video. It’s not just me that won, it’s the whole of Limerick.”
Luke’s video shows him on a journey through various landmarks in Limerick, and portraying his reaction to hurtful messages as they come through on his mobile phone and his laptop. While the mental torment of such insults is often hidden by the victim, in the video it slowly manifests itself in Luke through physical harm such as a bloody nose, a blackened eye and an injured arm.
Luke produced, edited and acted in the video, directed by his uncle Diarmuid and produced by his father Dermot.
Others nominated for the award included 16-year old Leah Melling, who raised over €16,000 for the meningitis charity ACT, after losing her 16-month old sister Lola Jane to the condition in April 2015.
Limerick nurse and mother of five Joanne McMahon, who sustained horrific burns in an accident at her home in May 2014, was also nominated, after showing remarkable courage in her recovery. Ms McMahon was engulfed in flames after pouring methylated spirits on top of a Bain Marie food container which she did not realise was already alight. After spending 131 days at St James’ Hospital National Burns Unit, she raised over €200,000 for the facility where she said doctors saved her life.