Messages of support flood website
FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan's brave decision to continue in his job while battling cancer was roundly praised as "inspirational" yesterday, as thousands of well-wishers sent him messages online.
The minister's teenage son, Tom, last week revealed his father had viewed a website set up for people to send him messages of support, after news of his diagnosis broke.
Yesterday, the number of people who had signed up to 'Politics aside, we wish Brian Lenihan well' stood at over 5,000, with messages of support from 15 different countries and every Irish political party.
The 'Support For Brian Lenihan Through His Battle With Cancer' had almost 2,000 members.
Mr Lenihan's interview on RTE radio at lunchtime prompted a flood of messages on both sites.
"Just heard Minister Lenihan on 'News at One' sounding very positive about everything," Yvette Conroy wrote. "I think you are an inspiration and I'm sure you'll be able to fight your illness and be back to full health soon."
Reaction to his frank interview also carried over into the RTE 'Liveline' programme after the news.
Among those who offered support was Patricia from Kildare, who revealed both she and her husband had battled cancer.
"He really, thoroughly moved me just listening to him," she said. "The care we got we'll never forget it. There's definitely life after cancer. It's bad enough one in the house has it but when you're trying to keep up with your husband and then you get it, it's another blow.
"It was traumatic at the time but our family and friends and our doctors were superb."
The Finance Minister's positivity was commented on by caller after caller.
"He reminds me of my own daughter," Imelda from Dublin said. "She was very, very positive." She revealed her daughter had battled cancer on three occasions.
"He will get through it; I know by his voice."
Tom Lenihan posted a message on Facebook last week thanking those who had offered their support. "Hi, I'm Tom, Brian's son," he wrote. "I showed my dad the page. Thanks to everyone for your kind wishes, we appreciate it."