Issie: Support from the Community                                                          

Support from the Community

I am from and I live in the small, rural seaside town of Castletownbere, Co. Cork, Ireland.  When I got sick I was running a sweet shop so I knew practically everybody in the town.  As I was only 35 years old at the time of my diagnosis and also the mother of 2 young children, everyone was shocked and saddened by my cancer news.  When people hear that you have cancer, often they may not know the exact extent of the disease but it strikes fear into even the most hardened of hearts.  People do not know if you are going to die from it or survive it.

From the day that I was diagnosed, a huge wave of support enshrouded me.  People started calling to the shop, giving me flowers, holy items, cards and wishing me well.  There was many a tear shed in the shop with the pure kindness shown to me by people.

When I was in hospital, the support continued.  People visited me, comforted me, and kept me company throughout many a lonely evening.  It simply was unbelievable.  During my stay in hospital, another local lady, 50 years older than me, was also in hospital for breast cancer surgery.  We were on the same floor, but in different wards and we used to visit each other daily.  It was great comfort and support to be able to talk to her.

On my return home the flowers and cards continued.  It was over whelming really to be honest.  I read every card and message of support.  These messages got me through many a dark day.  I was delighted to be a part of a small, rural community where everyone knew my situation.  It was great for my family too, especially my mother, who got great help from her friends during this time.  My children also had a pleasant time, considering what was actually going on.  The local school and creche were great and I received beautiful hand made cards from my sons saying "Get Well Soon Mommy".

I kept everything in a special box.  I have every card, every letter, every mass card, every note and all of the religious tokens that I received.  And I opened that box today and ready through every single warm wish.  And I cried.  I could not help it.  I had not read these messages since I received them in 2011 and 2012.  I simply was not ready before now.  But today is the start of a new year and new beginnings.  I am honoured to have received so many kind messages during my illness.  They mean so much to me and I will treasure them always.  Every single card is special and the genuine goodwill is mind blowing.  I am glad that I am alive and well to appreciate these messages.  They really did help me at that most difficult time in my life.  I will treasure them always and I have them stored safely in my special box.

I want to thank everyone who supported me since my diagnosis in 2011 and I especially want to thank everyone who took the time to write, visit and enquire as to my well being.  You have no idea how much it means to me and my family.  Sincerely and from the bottom of my heart I thank you.  And I would like to wish you all health and happiness for 2015.  :-)  xxx

The many cards and well wishes that I received when I was sick.  I keep them safely in a special box.  They are a source of constant comfort for me for which I thank you.