independent

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Friends take a trip back to the 80's for Helena fundraiser

Nostalgic trip back in time raised €1,500 to help Doneraile family move into their dream home

Sophie Healy, Lyre; Róisín Murphy, Kiskeam; Michelle Kavanagh, Mallow; Breda Murphy, Kiskeam, and Aoife Horgan, Doneraile, enjoying the Friends of Helena Ryan ‘Back to the 80’s’ themed fundraiser at the Hibernian Hotel. Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald
Sophie Healy, Lyre; Róisín Murphy, Kiskeam; Michelle Kavanagh, Mallow; Breda Murphy, Kiskeam, and Aoife Horgan, Doneraile, enjoying the Friends of Helena Ryan ‘Back to the 80’s’ themed fundraiser at the Hibernian Hotel. Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald
Helena Ryan

Sheila Fitzgerald

A large crowd of revellers recently went 'Back to the 80's' at Mallow's Hibernian Hotel to support a fundraiser for young Doneraile Mum Helena Ryan, who is currently battling stage four cancer.

Helena's story began in 2016, when she was diagnosed with stage one cervical cancer after giving birth to her second child. Within a short space of time this had developed to stage two and Helena began radiotherapy, chemotherapy and brachytheraphy.

"This brought me to 2017 when all treatments were successful and I was in remission, I was healthy enough and my positive mental attitude allowed me to return to my work as a care assistant as I truly enjoyed caring for people on a daily basis," said Helena. 

However, last November Helena found a lump on her neck and was referred to CUH where her consultant recommended a biopsy. 

"Two weeks later we were told the devastating news the cervical cancer was back and had spread to the lymph nodes in my stomach, chest and neck but luckily hadn't hit any of the major organs. As the result showed stage four cancer, I began the fight again, as positive and strong as ever," she explained. 

 Helena continued to work until New Year's Eve, which was the week before her treatment began and while she was hoping to continue working during her treatment, her medical team advised against it.

"Aggressive chemotherapy began in January 2019 but shortly into the treatment I was hit with major side effects which have affected my mobility, I have spent short of three weeks in hospital undergoing tests to resolve this side effects but nothing to date has worked significantly. As a result the chemotherapy has been postponed," said Helena. 

Throughout this Helena, her husband Declan and their two young children have been living in a mobile home while building their dream home after getting married. 

Since Declan has had no option but to take time off from work, their income had been severely impacted, putting the house project in jeopardy.  Meanwhile, even day to day living is a challenge for Helena.

"My husband has had to take time out of work to look after me and our two children. I have amazing support from family and friends for which we are ever so grateful. At present we are living in a mobile home which is very comfortable, however it's not suitable for a family of four and for my medical needs," she said.  

"We are fortunate enough to have our house at plastering stage and this is why I'm reaching out to anyone who is in a position to support us. Money we had saved to finish our house such as kitchen and bedroom furniture is being used to pay for our everyday living at the moment." 

In March friends set up a Go Fund Me account with the aim of raising €10,000 to help fund the build. So far, it has raised more than double that amount. 

Helena's friend Aoife Horgan, who helped organise the 'Back to the 80's' themed bash, said people had turned up in great numbers to support Helena and her family.  She said Helena is "a fighter with huge positivity, a dedicated home maker and wife and most of all a truly amazing Mammy".

"Their new home is at plastering stage and we are hoping to raise enough to get it finished so that they can move in, Helena's wish is to get her and her family into their new home for the summer, so that when she returns to chemotherapy, it will be a more comfortable environment for her to recover," said Aoife. 

"Also, Helena and Declan are assuring everyone that they will give any surplus donations to the CUH Oncology Department once their house is liveable," she added.

The 'Back to the 80s' Disco raised €1,500 and readers an also support Helena on her Go Fund Me Page atgofundme.com/friends-of-helena.

Corkman

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