A Dublin woman, who is about to undergo treatment for breast cancer, was reduced to tears by the “incredible generosity” of UFC star Conor McGregor this week.
Gemma Devoy (35) is due to start chemotherapy later this month and has channelled her energies into raising funds for the Marie Keating Foundation.
The mother of one was “blown away” when she learned that her fundraising target had been achieved after a single donation of €10,000 was made by the Crumlin fighter.
“I was on my way home after getting my eyebrows done when I got a call to say that our target had been reached thanks to Conor McGregor,” Gemma told Independent.ie.
“I couldn’t believe it – I cried all the way home from Ringsend to Pearse Street.
“I’ve never met him personally, but I’m good friends with cousins of his, who are all beautiful people. That man has a massive heart. It is simply incredible what he has done.”
So far, 2021 has been a very tough year for Gemma. Just months after her mother passed away in January, she noticed a lump on her breast while lying in bed.
“It wasn’t sore but I knew it was a problem, so I had it checked out immediately,” she said.
“I was referred by my doctor to St Vincent’s Hospital where I had three biopsies, a mammogram and a marker inserted, which was terrifying.
“Even though I knew in my heart that something wasn’t right, I was still shocked and numb when I was told that I had a cancerous tumour – it hit me like a bomb.
“But a treatment plan was put in place by the hospital team, who were all brilliant, and we’re now on our way.”
Gemma decided to raise money for the Marie Keating Foundation after being struck by the costs incurred by cancer patients.
“When I went to get my wig last week, it cost over €1,500 – I couldn’t believe how expensive it was,” she said.
“Fortunately, I had help from family and friends, but there are women out there who don’t have that sort of support.”
Gemma said that wearing a good quality wig is important for her own mental health and would mean her son Jamie (12) will not see her looking sick while she is undergoing chemotherapy.
“He just started secondary school and this has had a massive impact on him,” she said. “Losing my mother this year was very hard on him as they were best pals.”
On September 17, Gemma will shave her head as part of a fundraising event in Leo Fitzgerald House flats complex.
She said this would be a “gesture of solidarity” with other cancer patients and a reminder for young women to check themselves regularly.
“It’s about raising funds and raising awareness,” she added.
Gemma, who works in the catering division of the Eye and Ear Hospital, has been overwhelmed by support from her “army” of friends, colleagues and relatives, including her sister Sharon, “the rock” of the family.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help reach Gemma’s new fundraising target of €20,000. Donations can be made here.
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