Saturday 20 July 2019

MacAuley recalls hospital visits after mum got lung cancer

Awareness: Former NFL star Chris Draft and Dublin footballer Michael Darragh MacAuley help highlight Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Photo: Mark Condren
Awareness: Former NFL star Chris Draft and Dublin footballer Michael Darragh MacAuley help highlight Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Photo: Mark Condren
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Dublin football star Michael Darragh MacAuley spoke of "trips in and out of the hospital constantly" as he recalled the death of his mother from lung cancer when he was a child.

The footballer is trying to raise awareness of lung cancer and how anybody can be affected.

His mother Rosaleen died aged 51, when MacAuley was 12. "My mother hadn't smoked for 30 years and was living a healthy life and it got her as well so it's a tough one," the six-time All-Ireland winner said.

"You're going to remember those times unfortunately a bit too well. We caught it quite late and it was kind of downhill for a good number of months, trips in and out of Blackrock Hospital.

"It's tough for anyone going through this and my story isn't any worse than anyone else's, it's just something you have to deal with.

"Maybe if we can raise a bit of awareness and catch one early, that'd be great."

Asked what his mother was like, he harked back to a previous interview in which he said there was no one sporty in his family.

"And then I get an angry phone call off my aunt the next day, 'what are you talking about, your mother was captain of the running team, captain of the athletics team and captain of everything and was the big sporty one', so apparently that's where I get it," he explained.

He said he is more like his mother than anyone else.

"I'm quite fidgety and I'm always on the move and I'm always on the go. I met one of her long lost friends at a conference recently and she was like 'your mother was always on the go, that's what I'll always remember about her, never stopped moving'.

"And the person I was with just started laughing."

Also speaking on behalf of the Irish Cancer Society's Lung Awareness campaign was former American football star Chris Draft, who lost his wife Keasha to lung cancer in 2011, aged 38.

"We found out that a 37-year-old woman, that's in amazing shape, could get lung cancer and that anyone can get lung cancer," he said.

"The key is understanding just what lung cancer is. And so, anyone can get it, absolutely important. Do people understand that? They don't.

"So it's important we say it over and over again and the only way they'll believe it is if they see people."

Irish Independent

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