So, my friend Alisha.
Alisha was born on 5th of September 1979 in a small town close to Vancouver in British Colombia, Canada and was such a special person.
She arrived in Ireland in 2001 with Gabriella Mastromatteo (Gaby), a fellow Canadian who is still living in Ireland. The two Canadian girls automatically fitted into life in Ireland and made friends with everyone they met, especially with all of us in Athlone. She was like a mum to all of us, always had the best advice.
She was feeling unwell one day in early December 2002, but Alisha being Alisha didn't like to complain. But when that night she still had a really bad headache we decided to bring her to the doctor, who insisted we bring her straight over to the hospital in Ballinasloe.
They kept her in and started tests straight away as they suspected meningitis. She ended up in hospital there for weeks, although they kept telling her and us that she was fine and that she would be released in a few days, which never happened.
I went home for Christmas and got word on St Stephen's Day that she wasn't well, so my Mum and Dad brought me over to the hospital. It was the first time I was really worried, she was in so much pain and she couldn't speak. There were a good few of her friends there so we were all trying to keep spirits up, but we knew things weren't good. We went home and I got a phonecall in the middle of the night saying Alisha wasn't responding, but I stupidly thought they meant she was basically ignoring them, which I wasn't surprised about as I knew she was fed up with all of them.
But then I got another call a couple of hours later telling me she had fallen unconscious and that we should ring her parents to come over to Ireland.