'We thought she was over the worst of it'- family of woman (38) diagnosed with cancer for third time
The family of a 38-year-old woman who was given her third cancer diagnosis shortly before Christmas have started a fundraising drive to help her receive the medical care she needs.
Westport native Regina Duffy was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. She successfully underwent treatment but was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014, which she also battled with treatment.
Just months after she got married to her partner Jason Donoghue in March 2018, Regina was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.
According to her sister-in-law Sian Duffy, who started a fundraising page alongside Regina’s sister, the news came just weeks before Christmas.
“It all happened very quickly, it came out of the blue. This time around she’s coping without her mum, who passed away in 2016, whereas with the previous battles her mum was there along the way,” Sian told Independent.ie.
“At the time of her wedding last year, she had finished her treatment for the tumor. There were side effects of course, it takes a long time to recover from such grueling treatment, but she went back to work as a teacher. We thought everything was going well.”
Last week, Regina and her husband made the journey to New York, where they have sought treatment for the rare disease at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre.
“The problem is that there isn’t any treatment here for it. It's rare, and not as well researched here. The prognosis was very bleak, there wasn’t any treatment.
“She went out there last week, she’s being seen and assessed, and there is treatment they can offer. How long she’ll be there will depend on the length of the treatment needed.”
Sian said the news has had a “devastating” effect on Regina and the family but said the support from the local community has lifted her spirits.
Regina had worked as a teacher in Naas for many years, before moving to a school in Claremorris when she moved back to Mayo last year.
“She’s very strong, brave and optimistic. It's devastating after her previous two battles, that’s difficult to deal with, but she's trying to stay positive and upbeat,” Sian said.
“The response from her former pupils has sort of caught her off guard. It's amazing. I think that’s given her a boost.
“Although what we’re doing is hard, you realise how good people are and there’s a comfort in that.”
Over €58,000 has been raised in three days, out of the €250,000 target the family have set to cover the costs of the treatment in New York.
“Regina, you are truly a hero in my eyes. No matter what life throws at you, you smile and conquer. Wishing you a speedy recovery and sending lots of love,” one well-wisher wrote.
“The whole of Ireland is behind you”.
- More information about 'Regina's Fight For Life' can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/reginaduffyfightforlife