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Tuesday 21 January 2020

'How could I complain when this little thing was going through it'- Gran of the year Mary and Nicole (4) fought cancer together

Mary Creary and her granddaughter Nicole
Mary Creary and her granddaughter Nicole

Patrick Kelleher

It was a day of celebration yesterday for a Dublin family as Mary Creavy (58) was awarded Grandparent of the Year after a year of illness and heartache.

Mary’s granddaughter Nicole was diagnosed with a brain tumour at just four, in 2014. Mary was then diagnosed with breast cancer that September.

What followed was a difficult year for the family as grandmother and granddaughter battled their illnesses together.

“She was four and her face was getting a little bit peculiar at one side,” said Mary, from Donabate.

After scans and hospital trips, a sizable brain tumour was discovered.

“The shock was unbelievable. You say to yourself, ‘Why a child?’ It had never touched us. It’s absolutely horrendous.

“You’re just in another world. When you’re a grandparent you’re on the outside looking in. When it was your own children, you were there. You could touch it. When you’re a grandparent it’s up to them to do that, so you’re at a bit of a loss.

“She would go in for her chemo and hear another little child had gotten their angel’s wings. It was heart-breaking for her.”

This was Mary’s second time having breast-cancer; however she says that it was difficult to even think about her own illness when Nicole was suffering.

“If anything, it pushed my illness aside. Nicole’s was more important. I’ve been there, done that,” she said.

“How could I complain when this little thing was going through it and there wasn’t a peep out of her? We just got on with it, a bit of laughing and joking here and there.”

She kept a sense of humour throughout the illness and worked hard to keep Nicole’s spirits high.

Mary even had hair-growing competitions with her granddaughter to see who could grow their hair back faster after the chemotherapy.

“We were both ‘baldies’, as we used to say. So we decided to have a competition to see whose hair would grow back quicker. She would come over and we’d take the wigs off, and it was always Nicole,” she said.

It is good news for the family as both have been given the all clear. Mary was presented with the award by Boots as part of the Maternity and Infant Awards in Dun Laoghaire yesterday.


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