Marie Hughes and her daughter Aoife are from Meath. They are sharing Aoife’s story to help raise awareness of the need for a new therapeutic short break centre in Co Mayo for children and young people diagnosed with cancer and their families.
Hi, My name is Marie, and my husband is Robert. We have three children, my son Aaron who is 26, and my twin girls Aoife and Niamh who are 17. Aaron lives in Canada with his wife and son who we haven’t met yet because of COVID. The girls love GAA and play for our local club. Aoife also plays for Meath.
We Went Numb
When Aoife was first diagnosed, we couldn’t believe it. We thought they must have made a mistake. Aoife was so fit and healthy and was at the top of her game. After talking to the doctor in more detail we all went numb. It was like our world just stopped there and then.
When the doctor started to talk to Aoife, she asked her one question, ‘Am I going to lose my hair?’
Straight away the doctor said yes but it will grow back. Aoife cried so hard, there was no consoling her. We didn’t know what to say or do at that point.
Daisy Lodge Is Relaxing
We found staying at Daisy Lodge so relaxing. Seeing other families there in the same situation made us feel much better. I was able to talk openly and not be afraid of expressing how at some stages of Aoife’s cancer journey I felt angry and lost, why us? It helped so much to hear different stories. Aoife loved it there. She made friends and loves sharing her story with whoever will listen. One of our favourite experiences was taking part in the family yoga session. It was so good we didn’t want to leave the room.
We Laughed We Joked
Our therapeutic short break in Daisy Lodge was so good for my family because we sat together as a normal family, for the first time in a long time. You can’t put a price on that. We laughed, we joked, we ate really well and talked more which is so important
It was so important for us to get away together during COVID. We were at our wit’s end not being able to go anywhere or do anything and our short break at Daisy Lodge gave us the lift we all needed.
We need another Daisy Lodge in Mayo for families to go and forget, even it is only for a few days. They deserve it. Meeting other people in a therapeutic environment that is far removed from hospital wards, clinics, bloods, and all of the horrible stuff they have to go through are good for both the diagnosed child and their family. I would love to go again with my family.
Living Life Again
I’m glad to say that Aoife is cancer-free. She is starting back at her sports and is starting to live her life again. Aoife got so much support from her family, teammates, our community in Meath and from everyone who knows her. That is what kept us all going.
Speaking about her experience Aoife said,
“To put this past year and a half into word is almost impossible. It’s been a long and tiring journey. One of the hardest and toughest things I have ever experienced. N
ow I can say I am cancer-free.
From the very first day I found out I had cancer I was afraid to tell anyone. I didn’t want to be known as ‘the girl who had cancer.’ But I have come to realise that yes, I am the girl who has had cancer, but I’m also the girl who has beaten cancer. Unfortunately, so many people are not as lucky as me.
In the weeks after I was diagnosed, I gave myself a choice. I can either be sad and cry about something I can’t change or be grateful that there is a way that I can get better and accept that I have cancer and focus on the good things. When I did accept that this is going to be my life now, it made things so much easier. I have learnt that no matter what life throws at you, no matter how sad you are there is light at the end of the tunnel.
For me it was like my life was on pause for a while and now I’m better I can finally get on with my life and soon enough this experience will be nothing but a distant memory. I’m ready to un-pause my life and get on with living.”
Our site in Mayo is currently a field of dreams in a COVID World. To support our capital appeal for Daisy Lodge Mayo and help us ensure that young people like Aoife and their families don’t have to face cancer alone, please email our Ireland Relationship Manager, Belinda Kearns e: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or join our Daisy Chain fundraising campaign here.