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Broadcaster Marian Finucane opens her heart over loss of daughter to leukaemia

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Since the first event in 1993, Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning has raised an estimated €30m for hospice care.

Since the first event in 1993, Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning has raised an estimated €30m for hospice care.

In 1993, just a few years after her daughter's death, Marian was approached by Oona Linehan to help with the coffee mornings.

In 1993, just a few years after her daughter's death, Marian was approached by Oona Linehan to help with the coffee mornings.

BROADCASTER Marian Finucane has spoken movingly of the extraordinary home care her late daughter received during her fatal illness.

Sinead Finucane died at the age of eight in 1990 after developing leukaemia.

Marian's firsthand experience of bereavement has inspired two decades of support for the hospice service.

That long-serving loyalty continued yesterday at an event in Bewley's Cafe on Dublin's Grafton Street to celebrate the 20th anniversary of 'Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning' fundraiser.

"We wanted (Sinead) at home," Marian recalled of the time surrounding her daughter's tragic illness. "We got help and home care. We couldn't have made it through without that back-up.

"We had a terrific GP and the palliative care kept us going."

Marian (62) is married to John Clarke with whom she had two children -- Sinead and brother Jack. In 1993, just a few years after her daughter's death, Marian was approached by Oona Linehan to help with the coffee mornings.

"Presumably that was one of the reasons why she asked me (to be involved). I did have experience of (the support) in my own family," she said.

Since the first event in 1993, Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning has raised an estimated €30m for hospice care.

"Oona insisted we call it 'Ireland's Biggest Coffee Morning' because she thought people would identify with it, and she was right," she added.

Meanwhile, TV3's Sybil Mulcahy revealed how the Irish Hospice Foundation helped care for her terminally ill father-in-law two years ago.

"His passing was made so easy for the whole family because of the care he had," she said. "They looked after him so well. They offer people dignity at the end."

Supporters can organise their own coffee mornings by visiting irelandsbiggestcoffeemorning.ie.

Irish Independent