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Connacht Tribune

Oughterard man’s cancer story is told in new short documentary

Denise McNamara

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The experience of an Oughterard man who took part in a clinical trial is being used to educate other patients about the benefits.

In a documentary-style short film, Christopher McEvilly, 81, recalls how his trouble started when he was about to take out his jeep from a shed. A gust of wind blew open the shed door and knocked him to the ground.

Tests revealed that he had three broken bones in his back. But he was shocked to learn that medics had uncovered an underlying condition.

He was diagnosed with blood cancer which was causing his bones to be brittle. He was offered a clinical trial run by the Blood Cancer Network Ireland (BCNI) which promised to cure 90% of the cancer and the remaining 10% would not interfere with the quality of his life.

Professor Michael O’Dwyer explains how clinical trials indicate whether new treatments being developed are safe and effective. Until they are used on patients as part of a clinical trial they will not be approved.

“Frequently now a clinical trial is with better targeted treatments. There is evidence of significant benefits at the very earliest stages of a clinical trial,” he states in the film.

He says that patients should realise that chemical trials are not about using patients are guinea pigs but rather to provide them with the best possible treatments that are currently available.

Scientists and doctors were constantly monitoring the patient during the trial to determine its affects.

Christopher said after just a number of weeks on the trial he began to feel strong. He was able to sleep without painkillers and drive safely.

Within ten months of being on the medication, he was told by his medical team that 90% of his blood cancer had been cured and the remaining 10% would be monitored.

“If you are lucky enough to be offered a trial, grab it again with both hands and thank your God. I know I prayed an awful lot to our Lady of Knock in the last year – a lot more than the last 80 years of my life.”

The film was produced with the support of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway. It was directed by lecturer Dieter Auner and produced by Dr Seán Crosson, acting director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media.

He said the project was part of ongoing research exploring the role of digital media in healthcare.

Visit the website for further information on the BCNI and clinical trials.

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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