In July 2013 I very unexpectedly lost my Grandmother, or as I called her Nana, to cancer. She was my father’s mum.
She wasn’t a well woman at the best of times. She suffered with diabetes and vertigo but she was very strong and determined to live her life.
She became ill and wasn’t fit to visit the doctor. Which was unlike her. Over a couple of days she was then bedridden too fragile to get out of bed. The doctor diagnosed her with a severe lung infection.
We went to visit her and my parents kind of gave me a look as if to say “Just in case this is it, do everything you need to do, and say everything you need to say.” However none of us expected that it would be.
The doctor had given her antibiotics for the infection but they weren’t working as well as they liked. Given her diabetes they decided to admit her to hospital for further treatment and to be on the safe side.
I found out after she passed that when my grandfather was driving her to the hospital, as they were pulling out of the yard, she looked back at the house and the dogs and said goodbye. My grandfather told her to stop being so silly, of course you’ll be back. But she knew.
On the second day in hospital my Grandparents celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary. They had cards and balloons, and the hospital staff made a fuss of them.
In those 53 years they had never been apart, not even for one day. Side by side day in and day out. Even in the hospital my grandfather would sleep in the battered, wooden chair beside her bed. Never leaving her.
Their relationship was the most pure and perfect I’ve ever seen. It was something you’d see in the movies. It was true and utter love. You could see it in their eyes, they were made for each other.
On the fifth day in the hospital we got the news. They had been draining her lungs and the liquid was crystallising. They did some tests and found out it was cancer.
In all my years, in all the atrocities and devastation that has happened in this world I have never seen a more distraught man than my grandfather when he was given the news. Still to this day nothing matches, or even comes close to the look on his face.
He was losing half of himself. He was losing a part of himself. He was losing the one thing in his life he would never give up.
And there was nothing he could do.
She passed on the 7th day surrounded by her entire family.
That’s something that we are incredibly grateful for, as I know that very rarely happens when a loved one passes. We are all thankful to have been there for her when she passed. I can’t thank the hospital staff enough for making it as painless as possible.
I despised cancer. How dare it take away my Nana. She never drank, never smoked, never did any harm to anyone. Why her?
I was so angry. But there was nothing I could do to change that, it was something I had to live with. I thought that was the end of it.
Cancer’s strike two.
This time it was my uncle.
I can’t do him justice when I describe him. He was strong, funny, hard-working, compassionate, loving and had all the time in the world for his son Jack.
This time cancer was more harsh. A lot more harsh. My uncle very unfortunately had a heart attack one quiet new years day. In the ambulance he died a total of 3 times and every time they brought him back.
When they arrived in the hospital he was put into an induced coma, that’s when we knew it was something serious. More serious they we originally thought.
It was all downhill from there, but it took its time. He was given 3-5 years. He got 2.
He had 2 years in and out of hospital. 2 years with one bad diagnosis after another. Only 2 years with his son who was only 21 when he passed.
As when any loved one passed it was horrible. Not one person wasn’t affected by his passing. His neighbours, fiends, wife, son Jack, family. But especially my grandmother and grandfather. His parents. One thing you should never have to do is bury your child.
Cancer took two people and I had enough.
This time it was my grandfather, my mums dad. Just a mere 5 months after burying his eldest son from cancer and he is given the same destiny.
He’s still fighting. But the cancer is spreading, and it’s spreading fast.
I have had enough of going to funerals caused by cancer. Having people around me pass because of it. My neighbours, my neighbours family, people I work with, the families of people I work with, my family having a close call, people around me being lucky enough to just about beat cancer.
I had enough. Time to take action.
My friend Roxy had the idea of taking part in the Irish Cancer Society Colour Dash. From signing up to the date of running the 5km, we had six weeks. We set a goal of €1000 and did what we could to raise that money.
We held quiz nights in my local pub, organised coffee mornings with sweet treats and cups of tea. We made hampers full of chocolate, skin care, wine, jams and candles, all the things you need for a cosy night. We raffled off gym memberships, hairdresser vouchers, I dyed my hair the colours someone choose when they donated €100. We annoyed every one of our friends, family and colleagues asking for anything they could give. We just came in under the target but I am still fundraising.
Please give anything you can and if you can’t then I ask you to, please, please share this.
I want to stop cancer. I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve seen. It’s horrible. There aren’t enough words to describe it.
I honestly loved taking part in the Colour Dash. We had planned to do the 5 km, but from getting there and making our way home we ended up walking 18km. We dressed up in ridiculous outfit and let go. We had carefree fun and made memories I will never forget, fighting for the people we had lost. We have bigger and better plans for next year and that’s just the fundraising, never mind the outfits.
I wanted to take a moment to say a huge thank you to Muireann O’Connell at Today FM for giving me air time when I was in the midst of getting my hair dyed for the cause and for sharing my JustGiving page. Also a huge thanks to Dermot and Dave for spreading the word on their twitter for my fundraising events.
The Irish Cancer Society had also been a huge help! I’ll leave their link below. Please look at their website and educate yourself on how to check for cancer and ways you can help the people around you, ways you can donate and fun events you can take part in like the colour dash.
Just a reminder to please read the Irish Cancer Society’s page as it could save a life.
I didn’t want any images or videos to take away from this post so I am putting them here. Just one last reminder if you can please give, every little helps. If you can’t then I would ask you to please share this post and the Just Giving page. Thank you. x