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  • Northside East

Karen & Ed remembered

Wednesday, 13th June, 2018 1:00pm
Karen & Ed remembered

Members of the organising committee hand over a cheque for €6,900 to St Francis Hospice. PHOTO: ORLA O’DRISCOLL

Karen & Ed remembered

Members of the organising committee hand over a cheque for €6,900 to St Francis Hospice. PHOTO: ORLA O’DRISCOLL

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Orla O’Driscoll

SONGS, like photographs, capture moments into perfect freeze frames to remind us of a time, a place, or a feeling: ‘somewhere only we know’ long after that moment has passed.

For Karen Nicholson Stewart her songs were her anthems of love, laughter and her fight for life. 

 At 18 Karen got cancer and for 18 years she fought it. In the summer of 2016 she became very ill. It didn’t deter Karen’s verve for life, with the support of her husband Ed she again fought the disease.

However, in May 2017, Ed got the devastating news that he had pancreatic cancer, a terminal diagnosis.

Karen’s friend Rhonda Dunne says: “Everyone was devastated. You just don’t imagine this. With three children under 10, and both mammy and daddy with cancer.” 

Ed died in the care of St Francis Hospice, Raheny, in August 2017 and Karen died in October, just a few short weeks later.

Devastated by loss, Karen’s family and friends decided to honour Karen and Ed, with a gala ball in aid of St Francis Hospice.

Bernadette Gillis event co-ordinator for the Hospice, says: “Every year we have a shortfall of €4.5 million to make up, and families fundraising makes all the difference to us.”

The Hospice has 19 beds, but the nature of a hospice means there is no timeframe for how long each bed is needed. 

Bernadette says: “Karen was cared for by the palliative team who care for 1,600 people at home each year.”

The gala ball was held at the Bonnington Hotel in April.

Karen’s sister Lisa says: “It just feels better to give something back. Without the Hospice we would have been lost, they were so good to us.”

And without the fundraising events every year, the Hospice would never make up the shortfall. The ever-increasing need for funds never goes away.

Bernadette says: “It takes a lot of organisation to get an event like this off the ground, but we genuinely rely on people fundraising so that we can help the next family.

“I think of it like this: it’s one family helping the next family that comes along and finds themselves in this very situation.”

Kieran Walshe, who was part of the organising committee for the fundraiser, says, for him, it was very emotional when Karen’s songs were played on the night. 

“I was watching her sisters, her family, and it was just so moving,” he says. 

Karen loved music and Coldplay was the last gig she ever went to.

Karen’s sister Emma says: “The support was unreal, people really wanted to be a part of it. 

“It was such a brilliant night and so many local businesses supported us, sponsoring tables, giving prizes, Mattress Mick even came and did the raffle for us.”

The family are keen to keep the legacy of love, and plan to organise a yearly event in Karen and Ed’s honour.

Rhonda Dunne adds: “Karen would have loved it (the gala ball). She loved the glam.

“She would have been slagging all night, and she would have been so proud.”

Karen Nicholson Stewart and her husband Ed who died within a couple of weeks of each other. PHOTO: GOFUNDME

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