Cancer victim tells of her battle for survival

Marisa Reidy

THE memory of a young Ballyduff woman who lost her brave battle with cancer this summer will forever live on in a book she wrote about her journey.

Ciara O'Neill passed away on July 25, just a day after she put the finishing touches to the book, Cancer to Coma - My Journey, which was launched at St John's Theatre in Listowel on Saturday.

While the event was tinged with sadness, as Ciara had looked forward to launching the book herself, it was nonetheless a very proud day for the O'Neill family, according to Ciara's mother, Peggy.

The proud mum recalled with fondness Ciara's brave and dignified fight with Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that eventually took hold after it spread to Ciara's lungs. She said that while the 33-year-old wrote the book with a view to launching it herself, this wasn't to be.

"Saturday was very sad for us, but saying that it was a brilliant day. We sold 200 books there at the event and took orders for many more and we have a second consignment being delivered this week," she said. "Before Ciara died she insisted that we get the book published and we get it out there. She kept writing up to the very end and only finished it the day before she passed away."

Peggy explained that Ciara's main message to readers is to always seek medical attention if you are in any doubt about an ache or pain and to always look for a second opinion if you're in doubt.

"The type of cancer Ciara had is very difficult to diagnose and that's was nobody's fault, it's just how it is. So her message is to keep going until you get an answer," Peggy said.

The book also features messages and notes from Ciara's health care staff and friends, who were with her every step of the way.

The book is currently available from shops in Ballyduff, Woulfe's in Listowel, Hegarty's in Lisselton, Super Valu in Ballybunion and on Amazon.


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