A major Benefit Night is being held this weekend as a campaign to raise funds for potentially life-saving treatment for a young Strokestown mother intensifies. The event will be held in the Silver Eel on Saturday night.
Mairead McDermott (33), is the second youngest of seven children of Ronnie and Mary McDermott of Cloonslanor, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon.
After receiving a devastating cancer diagnosis last August, Mairead began a self-healing programme, opting not to accept palliative chemotherapy from her hospital. Desperate to defeat her illness and live a full life, Mairead, mother of a two-year-old girl, has shown remarkable strength in adversity.
Despite some initial positive developments, her cancer has now progressed. In May, Mairead decided to seek treatment in a European Cancer Clinic, where she receives new specialist treatments, including chemotherapy and some “natural methods.”
Now her family and friends are desperately trying to raise funds to ensure that the treatment (in Istanbul in Turkey) can continue, and they have received fantastic support from the wider community.
In August 2016 Mairead was diagnosed with Stage 4 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. At the time, she was working as a schoolteacher in Dublin. Following the diagnosis, she returned to her native Strokestown, where she lives with her partner, Paul, and their daughter, Ali (2).
Told there was no cure, the young woman was offered ‘palliative chemotherapy.’ However, feeling that this would only prolong her life for a relatively short period, Mairead turned it down, and placed her focus on healing her body through natural methods.
Over several months, Mairead concentrated on treating her body “like a temple” – a healing approach that has involved a strict diet, natural supplements, high doses of vitamins, cannabis oil, holistic healing therapies, etc.
Initially there were positive outcomes, but in May of this year, CT scans showed signs of significant cancer progression. By now, Mairead had looked into the option of seeking treatment in a European Cancer Clinic.
Still confident that she “can make a full recovery,” she wrote in an online blog at the time that she now needed professional medical help and financial assistance.
In May, Mairead began an intensive treatment programme in Istanbul. She receives treatment for ten days, followed by ten days ‘off.’ There will be five such sessions. The treatment involves a low dose of chemotherapy, complemented with high doses of supporting vitamins and various other natural methods designed to help heal the body. Mairead returned from her third trip to Istanbul yesterday (Wednesday).
There are currently two more sessions scheduled in Turkey and the fundraising drive is to help deal with the significant costs involved.
Mairead’s sister, Sharon Harrington, who lives in Roscommon Town, is on the Mairead McDermott Fund Committee.
Sharon says her sister is responding really well to the treatment. She also pays tribute to the amazing response to the campaign.
“People have been incredibly generous. We really want to so sincerely thank the people of Strokestown, Roscommon, all parts of the county, Longford too.”
And Mairead continues to make her family, friends and neighbours so proud.
Her sister, Sharon, says: “I’ve never seen her getting down. Her attitude has been amazing, extremely positive.”
The battle, the campaign, the journey continues…can you help?