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Survivors 'shine light of hope into face of cancer'

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Irish Cancer Society remembrance evening in Dublin Castle. Cancer survivor, Nicola Elmer, Inchicore

Irish Cancer Society remembrance evening in Dublin Castle. Cancer survivor, Nicola Elmer, Inchicore

Irish Cancer Society remembrance evening in Dublin Castle. Cancer survivor, Nicola Elmer, Inchicore.

Irish Cancer Society remembrance evening in Dublin Castle. Cancer survivor, Nicola Elmer, Inchicore.

Irsih Cancer Society remembrance evening in Dublin Castle. Jennifer and Michelle Byrne, Navan.

Irsih Cancer Society remembrance evening in Dublin Castle. Jennifer and Michelle Byrne, Navan.

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Irish Cancer Society remembrance evening in Dublin Castle. Cancer survivor, Nicola Elmer, Inchicore

A CANDLELIT path of 1,500 flames burned bright at Dublin Castle to remember loved ones lost to cancer.

More than 100 family and friends of people who have died from the disease, and those who have survived it, gathered at the Irish Cancer Society event last night.

Among them was seven-year-old Josh Byrne from Tallaght, who lost his grandfather Dan (66) in September. Josh's mother Tracey (37) was at her father's bedside when he passed away after kidney cancer spread to his bones.

"I still feel like he's going to come around the corner," she said.

TEARFUL

"It's still surreal. I still don't feel that he's gone. He was diagnosed in November 2013. He got his treatment, and he came home in January. But then he went back into Tallaght Hospital and didn't come back out."

She became tearful as she recounted the heart-breaking moment in which her father passed away.

"It was a Sunday, we were just kind of in and out of the hospital. My sister went home to check the lights in my mam and dad's house, because we'd be turning them on and off, and within a couple of minutes of her coming back he passed away. So he waited for her to come back."

Retired couple Bill and Helen Lacy, from Lucan, were "left reeling" when they were both diagnosed with cancer within 18 months of one other.

Mr Lacy (77) learned he had prostate cancer just two days before Christmas in 2011, while his wife Helen (72) was told she had breast cancer in July of last year.

Mr Lacy was told that his cancer hadn't spread beyond his prostate and he was eventually able to overcome it with hormone- and radiotherapy. His wife Helen was relieved - until she found a lump in one of her breasts.

"They told me it was very serious," she said. "It had gone into the glands under one of my arms, that I would need a radical mastectomy and one of the glands removed as well. It was shocking, and the worst part of it was the chemotherapy. That went on for five months. It was horrible, and I needed a huge amount of it, so I was desperately sick.

"I lived on rashers and mandarin oranges; they were the only things I could eat. But we're both doing well now."

Chief executive of the Irish Cancer Society John McCormack said the charity had gathered people at Dublin Castle to "shine a light of hope into the face of this disease".

One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime.

hnews@herald.ie


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