'This can't be happening' - young Irishwoman who shared her cancer struggle on Facebook passes away
Published 09/09/2016 | 18:23
Tributes have been paid to a star sixth-form pupil, courageous Rebecca Haughey, who this week lost her long battle with cancer.
The popular Lurgan teenager was described as "gifted and full of laughter" by her school principal at St Catherine's College, Armagh.
When she learned in late July that the cancer she was suffering from was likely to prove fatal, Rebecca vowed to fight the disease with all her strength, penning a heartbreaking letter on her Facebook page to share the dreadful news.
"Hi everyone, I guess there's no time like the present to give you guys an update on everything," she wrote.
"I got some bad news on Friday: my consultant told me that my white blood cell count was back up and it looked like the cancer was working too fast for my treatment to catch up with it.
"She doubted there was much she could do for me. Understandably, I was in a state of shock. I was basically just told that I was going to die.
"All I could say was, no. This can't be happening. No. There has to be something you could do. No. No. No. You need to do something. I need to do something.
"We can't let this happen. I'm not going to die. I need to do something."
However, Rebecca also told how she was determined to fight the disease.
"That news gave me the kick up the back side I needed to make me more determined than ever to succeed... to beat this ruddy cancer that had taken over my life," she wrote.
"I was determined to see the end of this. I told the doctor to put me back onto the steroids and other medications to keep my white cell counts under control."
She tried all she could think of - even hemp oil, which she described as "a non-hallucinogenic holistic remedy".
And she vowed: "It's going to be a long, difficult journey ahead, but through Hell or high water, I'm going to get through it all and prove to my consultant that this will not beat me."
Friends and family sent heartfelt messages of support and encouragement to Rebecca in her struggle, including her mum, Colette, who posted: "My beautiful brave daughter. It takes a very strong person to go through what you are going through.
"You deserve the best that life can give and I am going to do my best to see you through this."
But this week Rebecca lost her battle with cancer after the disease proved too strong for the teenager's body to defeat.
Paying tribute to Rebecca, Noeleen Tiffney, the principal of St Catherine's College told the Lurgan Mail that Rebecca would be remembered as "a delightful girl, multi-talented, gifted and full of laughter".
"She had kindness and compassion at her core and was a true friend to everyone," she said. "The loss of this precious member of our school community has left those of us who knew her deeply saddened. She gave so much of herself to St Catherine's College and we were all enriched by having known her.
"Our thoughts are with Rebecca's family at this time and we would ask that you would remember them in your prayers in the days ahead."
Kieran Corr, chairman of Moyraverty Arts and Drama Society (MADS), which Rebecca was a member of, told the paper that she was a highly valued and popular girl who had performed in a number of shows.
"I know a lot of members of MADS are going to be very upset at this news," he said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with her family."