Carmel lost her sister, Paula, to breast cancer in 2008 and set up a fund in her name. She holds a run in her local town each year and has raised over £28,000 in her memory.
When Paula was diagnosed with breast cancer, there was a sense of total disbelief. She was only 36. How could this happen to someone so young?
Paula was, first and foremost, a wife and a mother. Everything she did was for her husband and her four young children, and breast cancer didn’t change that. She would have radiotherapy sessions after the boys left for school and always made sure she was back when they got home.
Paula fought the disease with every ounce of her being, and she also fought for other people – for family, friends and neighbours who were diagnosed with breast cancer and for everyone in the community, where she was a constant source of support.
The money we raise through the fund is helping to advance treatments even further, so that people won’t have to suffer the way she did.
I wanted to continue Paula’s fight. Research came on leaps and bounds during Paula’s treatment; it was research that gave her more time to live. The money we raise through the fund is helping to advance treatments even further, so that people won’t have to suffer the way she did. I wanted the fund to be a continuation of her life, so that the fight against breast cancer would go on.
In the middle of treatment, Paula decided she wanted to run the Dublin Marathon – that was the kind of woman she was: a warrior. Running had always been a massive part of Paula’s life, so we decided to organise a yearly run for breast cancer research. Paula had a large circle of friends who wanted to help, so we had pink t-shirts made with “Paula’s Pink Ladies” on the back. They’re the army that help me fundraise. Every year at the run, people come up to us and share what Paula meant to them. She’s still very much alive.
I also wanted the boys to have a clear memory of their mother, because they were so young when we lost her. I was adamant that her name was on something, so that we weren’t afraid to say it. The fund keeps her spirit alive and allows us to think about Paula and what she went through.
This is for you, Paula.
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