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Connacht Tribune

Community rallies to the cause for cancer battler

Dave O'Connell

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They made a day and a night of it in Loughrea – taking to the roads and the stage – in a massive show of support for one of their own battling cervical cancer.

Singer Áine Morgan says herself that she never wanted to be centre-stage because of her illness – but she now desperately needs to pay for a lifesaving drug that has yet to be licenced in Ireland.

The Loughrea woman can get Pemprolizumab – the same ‘wonder drug’ that Vicky Phelan is on to keep her cervical cancer at bay – but it would cost her an incredible €8,500 every three weeks; which is why she reluctantly started a fundraising campaign to save her life.

“I have to be brutally honest and say that as I set up the go fund me, the tears were streaming down my face,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

“I’m not comfortable with it at all; I shouldn’t have to – this drug should be covered but it’s obviously not,” she explained.

The response was immediate and enormous – and last week saw two major events in her home town’ a special concert where dozens of her fellow musicians turned out in force, followed by a run in the worst of the weekend rain that someone managed to deter no one from turning out in support.

The concert – hosted by Pat and Una McDonagh at their hotel – saw Aine on stage with a host of her friends, including the great Sean Keane with whom she duetted on the beautiful One More Hour.

DaDerga, Fraggle Rock, Who Knows, More Cowbell and Enda Dempsey all took to the stage for a fantastic night of music that raised €12,800 on the night – a fantastic example of how community can come together.

That was followed by a 5k on Friday night, organised by personal trainer Aileen Hardiman who also ran a similar event for Olive Shaughnessy – another local woman who has battled cancer – a couple of years back.

“We wanted to do something to help with medical costs and also to raise awareness that this drug should be accessible to all those who need it. There should not be a price on someone’s life,” said Aileen.

The route was lined with the members of the Loughrea Athletic Club, and Patrick Forde along with his committee members in Kilconieron directed traffic and made it safe for everyone involved. The Loughrea Civil Defence led the run around Tullahill.

Despite the horrible weather, young, old, fit, unfit, mothers and daughters, dads and sons, sisters, brothers all completed a 5k run, walk, for Áine.

“What was astonishing was that the 300-plus people that did it, crossed the line smiling,” said her proud brother and local photographer Larry Morgan.

See full story and photos in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Save Áine is on gofundme where you can donate whatever you can to help Áine Morgan in her battle with cervical cancer. See https://gofundme.com/save-aine.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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