Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Westmeath public urged to support Daffodil Day on 22 March

By Lorraine Murphy

Mullingar woman Eileen Lonican is calling on her local community to go all in against cancer for the Irish Cancer Society’s Daffodil Day, which takes place on Friday, 22 March. In September 2017, Eileen’s mother Kathleen Lonican was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and her family were put in contact with The Irish Cancer Society. Kathleen was a wife and mother with 62 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Eileen told Topic how the palliative care her mother received allowed her to die at home, according to her wishes.

“After the diagnosis, The Irish Cancer Society palliative care team met with us, a family in shock, and explained in detail what they would do as we didn’t know what to expect. They came morning and evening, making sure Mammy was comfortable and not in pain. They would chat with us about how she was doing and they reassured us that they were on the other end of the phone if we had any concerns or questions about anything. Knowing this was such a comfort and relief to us.”

Kathleen’s Wish

Kathleen’s health had suffered for many years before her diagnosis, and she had shared her wishes with her family during this time. “She told me she didn’t want to pass away in hospital,” Eileen said. “She wanted to be at home surrounded by her husband and family. Mammy got her wish and it was all possible because the palliative care team was there. Mammy would be in pain at times but the nurse would administer morphine to ease it. The palliative care team were able to fulfil her wishes to die at home and I can’t thank them enough for that. We got to bring our Mammy home.”

Life Long Supporter

On October 8, 2017, Eileen’s mother Kathleen Lonican passed away at home in Mullingar, surrounded by her family, as per her wishes.

Eileen is now a lifelong supporter of Daffodil Day, and the Irish Cancer Society. “I have always supported Daffodil day, and will continue to do so,” she said. “My mammy was a wonderful lady who lived for her family. She was a great character with a witty sense of humour, our rock and my best friend. Knowing she was not in pain in her final days meant we could spend precious time chatting about old times without worrying about that side of things. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the Irish Cancer Society for everything they did for our family. Without them, we would not have been able to bring Mammy home. They are an amazing team of people with hearts of gold. Empathetic, kind and caring, they are truly amazing people.”

Support in Westmeath

The Irish Cancer Society is there to ensure that every person affected by cancer has a place to turn to, the support they need and the hope that there will come a day when no one in Ireland dies from cancer.  Thanks to the generosity of the Irish public the Irish Cancer Society invests in groundbreaking cancer research and delivers crucial free support services for people affected by cancer, throughout Westmeath. In 2023 support provided over 610 free lifts to bring Westmeath based cancer patients to their treatment, over 350 free counselling sessions to people living in Westmeath and almost 200 nights of free Night Nursing care to allow cancer patients in Westmeath to die at home surrounded by loved ones.

“Unfortunately, 1 in 2 of us will get cancer at some point in our lives,” Irish Cancer Society CEO Averil Power said. “There isn’t a family in Ireland that hasn’t been touched by the disease. When Daffodil Day first began in 1986, just 3/10 Irish people survived a cancer diagnosis. Today, thanks to investment in innovative cancer research, that has doubled to 6/10 people in Ireland surviving cancer. And we at the Irish Cancer Society won’t stop until 10/10 people survive a cancer diagnosis. But we cannot do that without your support on Daffodil Day.

“The more we raise on Daffodil Day, the more we can do, and the more lifesaving research we can fund. We only receive 5% of our income from the government, so we’re urging everyone in Westmeath to Go All In this Daffodil Day 22nd March to help us achieve a future where nobody dies from cancer in Ireland, and everyone affected by the disease has the support they need when they need it most.”

Daffodil Day takes place on Friday, 22 March. Whether you want to get involved with your school, company, or in your community, there are lots of ways to go all in and support cancer patients across Ireland. Visit cancer.ie to get involved or learn more.  Anyone with questions or concerns about cancer can contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 or supportline@irishcancer.ie

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