Sarah Dineen (29) was only diagnosed with cancer a month before Christmas, having arrived in A&E with a pain in her left lung
Sarah Dineen (29) was only diagnosed with cancer a month prior, having arrived in A&E with a pain in her left lung.
There, a suspected pulled muscle turned into a devastating Stage 4 cancer diagnosis.
Friends have rallied around Sarah, the young mum of two girls – Ali (9) and Keela (7) – and foster mum of her nephew (4) as she enters end-of-life care at Marymount Hospice.
"Cancer was the last thing Sarah believed it could be, and definitely not the answer she would have ever have expected at age 29,” said Becky Shortland, the organiser of a GoFundMe to support Sarah.
Five weeks ago, Sarah had no symptoms, though her health has rapidly deteriorated in the time since.
The incurable diagnosis “shook Sarah’s world and broke her heart when he told her the worst news possible.”
"Like Sarah usually does, she carried on, stayed strong and planned to make the most of the time she was going to have,” Becky wrote on GoFundMe.
"All while being there to support and protect her children from the truth they would eventually have to face.
"The time Sarah was given at this point was 10 short months and the plan was to get home chemotherapy so she could cherish some much needed quality time with her children.”
Following an intensive round of radiation, Sarah was allowed home in early December to tell her children about what she was facing.
"Question is, how do you tell innocent children that their Mam is not always going to be there?” Becky asked.
A high temperature, difficulty breathing and a rapid heart rate brought Sarah back to hospital in the days before Christmas.
She had caught Type A Influenza, her friend revealed.
"The team of doctors met Sarah and took more X-rays and scans on Wednesday, the 21st of December.
"The heart was under to much pressure to support the other vital organs, such as the lungs,” she explained.
"The cancer had spread much faster and more aggressively than ever anticipated, which could only imply that the time she had been given was also being impacted.”
On Thursday 22 December, the young mum was told she had just two weeks to live, "almost exactly 4 weeks” since she first arrived at A&E with a suspected pulled muscle.
“The chances of Sarah’s body being able to undergo or withstand more chemotherapy was extremely unlikely,” Becky recalled doctors saying.
"Sarah was advised to go to Marymount Hospice for palliative care, end of life pain management. The gut wrenching words no healthy 29 year old mother, who had no symptoms of anything 5 weeks previously, wants to hear.
"Sarah was strongly advised from a medical position not to go home.
"However, Sarah made the decision to go home and spend her last Christmas with just her children in isolation.
"She thought shutting the world out and devoting her Christmas to the kids would be best for them in the long run.
"She needed to make it a memorable and significant one, especially knowing it will be the last so the kids have memories that will last forever.”
Sarah is now in Marymount Hospice and “has expressed how grateful she is for being able to be in a place that shows so much kindness and empathy,” Becky says.
"Sarah would love to be able to leave money to the hospice so that other families can continue to receive the same dignity she has, love and support.”
The young mum lost both her parents at the age of 9 and had a difficult childhood, having to move country to live with her grandparents.
"Sarah has faced adversity her whole life but was determined to break the cycle that had consumed her for so long. She refused to let her childhood define her and aimed to make sure the generational trauma would never reach her own children,” says Becky.
"She always wanted her children’s lives to be different. She always wanted them to have every opportunity that life could offer, no matter how much she had to work for them to get it.”
Her biggest goal, friend Becky explains, “was for her children to not feel pain and hurt or have to live the life she did.
"She wanted them to live a life of innocence, where they weren’t forced to grow up before their time and have a childhood that she never got to have.”
The money raised in the GoFundMe will go towards Sarah’s funeral costs and to a college fund for her young girls.
Money raised will help them go on the adventures that Sarah would have brought them on had she been able to, Becky writes.
To donate to the GoFundMe, follow the link here.