Thursday 8 December 2016

Fighting for services since cancer took parents' lives

Betty Holmes

Published 17/09/2015 | 02:30

Betty Holmes is a member of Donegal Action for Cancer Care Photo: North West Neswpix
Betty Holmes is a member of Donegal Action for Cancer Care Photo: North West Neswpix

My name is Betty Holmes. I live in Newtowncunningham, Co Donegal. I have been married to Con for 39 years. We have five children: Emma, Karina, Naomi, Laura and Mark. We have eight grandchildren from age 19 to 10-months-old.

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Cancer has had a very big impact on my life.

My first experience of cancer was when my father James Doherty died from lung cancer two weeks before my seventh birthday. My father never smoked a single cigarette in his life. I was so young I didn't understand.

I always remember mammy crying so hard one day and daddy putting his two arms around her. My dad was dead weeks after this.

Then it was my mother Kathleen at the age of 33, who died from breast cancer. She passed away five weeks after my 10th birthday. I couldn't understand why mammy couldn't put her arms around us and why her arm was always tied up. I didn't know why she was in bed so much and always sick. Then she was dead.

I lost so much through cancer, both my parents dead while I was still at primary school. Medically I am considered to be in a high risk group to get cancer. I know it's maybe around the corner. It has recently come as an early warning for one of our daughters.

I joined Donegal Action for Cancer Care to fight for services because we are so isolated. I'd challenge any politician to walk in our shoes.

Irish Independent

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