Monday 18 December 2017

Five years on, Joe Duffy praises 'remarkable' courage of Susie Long

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A MOTHER-of-two who became a household name after exposing a two-tier health service was remembered yesterday.

RTE 'Liveline' presenter Joe Duffy was reunited with the family of Susie Long on the fifth anniversary of her death.

Duffy recalled how the 42-year-old mother emailed his radio programme to expose the shocking divide between the public and private health service.

She later went on the airwaves under the name 'Rosie' -- to protect her two children, Aine and Fergus -- and gave a harrowing account of how her undiagnosed cancer spread while she waited seven months for a colonoscopy. Susie did not have private health insurance as she did not believe it was right to skip the public queue.

Promises were made in the wake of Susie's death that things would change. However, her friends and family continue to campaign for a better health service since the young mother's death. Yesterday, Duffy joined Susie's husband, Conor MacLiam, and the couple's daughter, Aine, to walk in her memory.

The inaugural Susie Long Memorial Walk was attended by more than 100 people who wore T-shirts bearing the names of loved ones who have died from cancer. The event is the latest fundraising initiative by the Susie Long Hospice Fund.

The charity has already raised €620,000 towards providing a hospice for the people of Carlow and Kilkenny.

"Susie was a remarkable woman," Duffy said, as he addressed walkers who turned out in Kilkenny's Castle Park. "Her name is known all over the country. Her words had a profound and lasting impact," he said.

In her original email to his show, Susie described how she "never dreamed" she'd get cancer, "let alone die from it".

Kilkenny Mayor Sean O hArgain, Carlow-Kilkenny Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness and his dog, Mikey, and Kilkenny Rose Aoibhinn Murphy, were among those who took part in yesterday's walk. Donations can be made directly to the Susie Long Hospice Fund at AIB, High St, Kilkenny, Account No: 3462705, Sort code: 93-31-98.

Irish Independent

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