“My journey stated when my daughter Sarah was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of three. Hard for any parent to come to terms with, but we did and got on with it. Two years later my daughter was given the all clear and at the age of eighteen said goodbye to her beloved Oncologist, Dr. Fin Breachnacht and Our Lady’s Hospital for good. Without the care and attention of all those that we came in contact with on a day-to-day basis our lives would have been very difficult. Sarah is now a healthy and happy 28-year-old!
The Oncology Ward had just been renovated a couple of years prior to our arrival so it was in reasonably good shape. With that said, parents had to sleep on the floor on a fold-up bed in very cramped conditions and were sometimes sharing the room with another patient. There were no facilities to wash or cook on the ward, so at some point one had to leave their child to go do just that. Easier said than done. I was very fortunate that I only lived 4 miles away from the hospital so I was able to go home to freshen up but those that had travelled from all over Ireland had to do what they could whenever they could.
Sarah was one of the lucky ones that got through her treatment fairly well – she was never too ill from her chemo and only lost her hair in the last two weeks of her treatment. Despite all of this the memories that I have are the oddest ones and will remain with me forever, like the walk from the entrance to those doors of the Oncology Ward; the murals on the wall – loving them and loathing at the same time; waiting for blood test results to come back which seemed to take forever, they determined whether or not you were going to be let home; the food trolley coming down the corridor and a couple of hours later it going the opposite direct with nothing touched as some patients were too sick to eat; and the boredom.
And there were good times too! I remember my daughter disco dancing on her bed to music hooked up to an IV drip; water fights with children that were up for it; and the smell of popcorn in the middle of the night.
I made a promise to myself one night lying awake in the early hours listening to beepers going off and nurses going about their nightly tasks; that I would fundraise to help make things better for the future. I’ve now been fundraising for the last 11 years, more or less, and hopefully I have helped make a difference.
How have I raised the much needed funds? I’ve done anything from baking Cup Cakes by the 100s, Country & Western Night, Girls Night Out, Golf Days, Question of Sport, and Strictly Come Dancing. The newly refurbished Oncology Ward opened in 2014, which my fundraising endeavours helped towards making it the ‘State of the Art’ ward that it is today. No more sleeping on the floor.
I take my fundraising very seriously and put a lot of effort into organising events but I’m also very mindful to give back to those that have supported me by having really good spot prizes at my various events. I make a point of not paying for anything and rely heavily on people’s generosity and good will to donate whatever I need. There is a real sense of achievement and pride when we present our fundraising cheque to CMRF Crumlin.
I’m now part of a voluntary group of friends and walkers, some of us have known each other for over 20 years. We organise walking trips every year to somewhere in Europe. We’ve been to wonderful places and have seen and done wonderful things but we’re an aging group and would love to appeal to anyone that fancies a bit of fundraising to come join our group – Crumlin Walking Challenges. Everyone is welcome, any age, any ability.”
-Fiona Roche, January 2018.
Fiona Roche is one of CMRF Crumlin’s many, many amazing fundraisers. Thank you so much to our hero fundraisers and donors! Without you, we couldn’t support Ireland’s sickest children.