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BRAVE CIARA Young Dublin nurse battling cancer for fourth time desperately raising funds for treatment

'I am just not ready to give up - I've never given up the other three times, I believe I will take the chemo and it will work...'

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Ciara’s previous treatments have resulted in her getting cancer again

Ciara’s previous treatments have resulted in her getting cancer again

Ciara’s previous treatments have resulted in her getting cancer again

A young nurse who is battling cancer for the fourth time is desperately raising funds for live- saving treatment after doctors told her she has just months to live.

Ciara Barry (36) has faced down Hodgkin's Lymphoma three times since she was first diagnosed at 13.

In a cruel twist of faith, due to treatment toxicity from previous chemotherapies that kept her alive, Ciara has now developed an aggressive blood cancer, treatment -related High Risk Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).

The Dubliner's family has now set up a GoFundMe page to raise vital funds to place Ciara on a pioneering clinical trial in America that could save her life.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday World, the brave nurse who lives in Drimnagh with husband Paddy, says she's not ready 'to give up'.

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Ciara and Paddy on their wedding day

Ciara and Paddy on their wedding day

Ciara and Paddy on their wedding day

 

"Whenever I read the GoFundMe page I think that poor girl and then realise 'God, it's my page.' It's such a weird world waking up and checking your own GoFundMe."

With thousands of donations already pouring in to cover the astronomical costs of her treatment abroad, Ciara is still almost halfway off her €500,000 target but is more determined than ever to survive.

"I am just not ready to give up, I don't feel it in me that I can give up right now. I didn't give up the other three times, so I'm not going to do it now. I believe I will take the chemo and the treatment and it will work.

"When you are given the opportunity to survive you just have to grab it and so many of my friends who endured cancer didn't survive and I carry them with me. They didn't get to do the backpacking and travel the world and be with their families.

"I want to be with my family and friends and my husband, he is too young to be widowed, we have only just started our lives and we want to grow old together. I just need more time."

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Ciara Barry with her husband Paddy

Ciara Barry with her husband Paddy

Ciara Barry with her husband Paddy

 

Cancer has left an indelible mark on the Dubliner's life since her first diagnosis.

"I was 13 when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, it came back a year later and I spent another year getting chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant.

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"I would have went to more funerals than teenage discos when I was a child.

"I got better and I went off and had a great 10 years. I got the 'Cancer Versus Me Cake,' jinxed it all and then a couple of months later found a lump under my arm. I had to go back and tell everyone,'we go again.' I was 26."

Ciara was due to celebrate another 10-year milestone of being cancer free but devastatingly that was not meant to be.

Complaining of dizziness and headaches in November 2020, Ciara, who had began IVF treatment, put the symptoms down to hormones.

"I was feeling a little off. I was taking hormones because I was gearing up to do IVF. I thought maybe it's just all the oestrogen and progesterone."

But tests found cancer and it was terminal.

"I went back to James's and I was told I had this cancer because of all the previous cancer treatments I had in the past - the irony.

"In my case it caused the cells in my body to change because of too much toxicity; they call it a treatment-related MDF.

"There are different types; some people might get 10 years whereas I was told 18 months from diagnosis.

"In January, I was told just to enjoy the time I had left."

Navigating her diagnosis with both humour and grace, Ciara explains: "I am used to living with the fear of death but it still feels surreal. I was only getting my roots done and the hairdresser asked me, 'was I going anywhere nice?'

"And because I have dark humour I was thinking, I am just looking for a few looks for the coffin, just going away with the family to cry because I am dying. You have to laugh sometimes.

"I have gotten so lucky, I have had plenty of hairy moments where I've said, 'I am not going to come back from this now.'

"You never know when you go into the hospital for treatment if you will come back out."

Having exhausted all treatment options available in Ireland, Ciara researched treatment abroad and hopes to participate in a clinical trial for Car T- Cell Therapy at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

CAR-T involves taking a patient's own T cells and effectively reprogramming them to more effectively target cancer. The cells are then infused back into the patient.

"There are only 88 participants on this trial and that feels like a golden ticket. The money has been the biggest hurdle."

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Ciara is getting weekly blood transfusions

Ciara is getting weekly blood transfusions

Ciara is getting weekly blood transfusions

 

The estimated cost of the treatment could reach above €500,000, which prompted Ciara's husband and family to set up the fundraising appeal.

"I am not in great health at the moment. I am trying to stay alive for the trial, so I am locked down right now and dependent on blood transfusions every week or two because my haemoglobin drops so that's what keeps me alive and kicking.

"If I don't get this treatment now the cancer will eventually transform into leukaemia and that's what I will die from.

"I am a bit mortified by having to share so much but people are so kind and are giving so much money. My husband is saying 'well, you are priceless and you are priceless to me.'

"I won't be able to go to the local pub, I'll have to set up another GoFundMe to buy everyone a drink.

"I am placing my trust in my medical team and I am hopeful that there will be life after this."

To donate towards Ciara's treatment visit gofundme.com/f/ciara-mooney

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