HEARTFELT tributes have poured in for brave Northside woman Cathy Durkin who lost her battle with cancer last week.
The courageous mum-of-three from Clare Hall successfully fought for a breakthrough cancer drug called Ipilimumab (Ipi) which she was told could not be covered by the HSE or private health insurance.
Northside People spoke to the softly spoken mum during her campaign to raise money for the drug, which the HSE eventually made available to patients in Ireland in May.
Sadly, the drug didn’t prolong Cathy’s life and she passed away on July 28. According to Cathy’s friend and fellow-campaigner Karen Meenan, Cathy had known that the treatment wasn’t working.
“When the doctors told her that the Ipi treatment was not working, she used those last few weeks to ask for visitors to thank everyone for the part they played in her campaign,” Ms Meenan told Northside People.
“She wanted to spread a message of hope that Ipi was a successful treatment for some, and wished that others who had the opportunity to get this would have a successful outcome.
“Cathy was an exceptionally brave and inspirational woman – she fought a very public campaign while she was seriously ill so that others wouldn’t have to fight for their cancer treatment.
“She did all this with grace and humour and touched the heart of the nation with her courage.”
Cathy’s selflessness and empathy for others knew no bounds as she forged strong bonds with the family of Donnycarney baby Sergio O’Connor who has undertaken a number of lengthy and risky operations to repair his digestive tract.
Cathy kept a picture of Sergio by her bedside and wrote to Sergio’s family a number of times with messages of support and well wishes.
She also donated half of the proceeds of a charity night held in her name towards Sergio’s medical costs.
Speaking to Northside People, Sergio’s Dad Donal O’Connor said he was very saddened to hear of Cathy’s untimely death.
“She was also so supportive of Sergio’s case and wrote to my father a number of times to send her well wishes because she thought she’d be bothering us by writing to us directly,” said Mr O’Connor. “She was a very special person.”
Tributes poured in last week on a specially dedicated website for Cathy.
“The world is a lesser place for the loss of a brave woman who showed dignity and courage in the face of such a cruel disease,” one post read.
“Her legacy will live on in the people she has inspired and helped to overcome their own battles.”
Another tribute read: “A quiet voice of dignity and courage. You have inspired others and changed the world for the better.”
Another person posted: “Cathy I never met you but how you touched my heart in your dignity and love to all. I can only pray that your husband and three beautiful children will be comforted by your love, inspiration and courage.”
Cathy is survived by her husband Michael and their children Alex (11), Alyssa (7) and Conor (4).More Information - http://cathy.freshthinkdesign.com