We are three sisters who lost their parents to cancer, and who have chosen to continue their fight by raising as much money as we can for cancer charities in their name.
Our Mum was first diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 32 years old, and mother to three children aged 3, 7 and 8. After an initial lumpectomy, she went into remission. However just a few years later the cancer returned, a rare non-aggressive type but one that couldn’t be cured.
Over the next 20 years she underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction, countless rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and radio frequency ablation. She endured endless bloods, bone injections, and hormone treatments. We spent half our lives at the hospital with her: we studied for GCSEs and A Levels in the waiting rooms, spent hours putting the world to rights over overpriced hospital coffee while waiting for more results.
It’s fair to say that all of our lives have been defined by cancer. It would be unfair, however, to say that this is entirely negative.
The reason for that is simply that our Mum was the most optimistic, overwhelmingly positive super-hero throughout everything. She taught us that we were lucky because we had access to such amazing treatments, lucky to have each other, and lucky that she’d already survived so much.
Every day I find something to be thankful for and a reason to not feel sorry for myself. People are inspirational and I thank you all for being my reason to keep going! One thing I know is that we don’t have to be beaten by anything in life. There’s always a reason to get your ass out of bed in the morning.
Lecture over and no more soppy stuff!Kerry O’Connell via Facebook, June 2017
Sadly, over time her cancer spread to her spine, her skull, liver, and eventually lungs. She developed severe lymphedema, a condition we had to do a lot of homework on. She was always adamant that she would “kick it’s bony arse” and that she would never, ever stop fighting it.
On the evening of 18th July 2018, she passed away in hospital surrounded by her girlies. She never gave up the fight.
Now, in her name and in her memory, we fight on so that others will live.