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Family pays tribute to life-saving legacy of brave cancer mum

THE devastated partner of tragic mum Michelle Fitzpatrick has said her 'deeply personal' fight for the introduction of free cervical cancer vaccines is a testimony to her -- and something her children will remember her by forever.

Robbie Farrell told the Herald that even when Michelle was in a huge amount of pain, she tirelessly fought for young girls, such as her daughters, to be vaccinated to help prevent the terrible disease.

Sadly, 42-year-old Michelle lost her fight to cancer last Saturday morning, just two months after Health Minister Mary Harney announced a U-turn and decided to issue the vaccines to 12-year-old girls.

Robbie said: "It means our two younger ones will benefit from it, and hopefully they'll get protection for the future. Her whole life was about protecting her kids, and that's why the campaign was so personal. It was about her kids as well as other kids."

He added: "She never sat still. She was always doing something. She was always looking to what was next on the agenda.

"The last couple of weeks were very difficult. She wasn't able to do the things she wanted to do and it drove her crazy."

Michelle's five children, Rachel (21), Amy (17), John (15), Mia (10), and Gemma (2) will forever be proud of their mum for the hard battle she won, despite her terminal illness.


"The girls have been going through the internet because all the articles about her are now on record," said Robbie.

"It's a personal testimony to her, and of course the fact that a TD mentioned her in the Dail as well."

The news that up to 30,000 girls in first year in secondary school were to be offered the cervical cancer vaccine this year had lifted Michelle's spirits.

"She was absolutely delighted when that went through. It was a personal thing with her, it was deeply felt and she was personal about it."

But, sadly, Michelle's health went rapidly downhill last week after more than two years battling the disease.

"It happened very suddenly in the end. Her condition deteriorated rapidly in the last week. She took a bad turn on the Sunday before she died and she felt very bad, so I got her to the hospital," said Robbie.

Michelle's oldest daughter Rachel and Robbie both took turns to keep a vigil at Michelle's bedside last week following a final operation, but on Saturday morning the entire family was called in.

"It was a shock," said Robbie. "The disease was rapid. She fought long and hard, but in the end the fight was gone."