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Sea of yellow Locals brighten up terminally ill mum Eileen Rushe's garden with 2021 daffodils

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Eileen Rushe pictured with her mum Mary and some of the daffodils

Eileen Rushe pictured with her mum Mary and some of the daffodils

Eileen Rushe pictured with her mum Mary and some of the daffodils

A terminally ill cervical cancer patient says she was 'blown away' when she opened her door to 2021 daffodils in an act of kindness from her community.

Eileen Rushe, who recently received a 'heartfelt apology' from the Louth Co. Hospital in Dundalk for failings in her care after she was referred to it for treatment following a smear test, in turn sold the daffodils to raise €400 for a local cancer support foundation.

The mum of one was met with a sea of yellow when the kind-hearted Drogheda Dolls Facebook group decided to fill her mam's garden in Sandpit, where she is staying, with the flowers on St Patrick's morning.

Group founder Natalie Kelly said in a post on the page: "I had a dream to fill Eileen's garden with daffodils and when I mentioned it to a friend, she told me her husband worked on a nearby daffodil farm, Elmgrove, who kindly offered to donate the blooms as part of the kindness month we are running."

Eileen said on Thursday that she has been overwhelmed by people's kindness since her diagnosis.

"I wasn't feeling great so I was lying down when mam called me downstairs. I opened the door and saw thousands of daffodils, which as well as sunflowers, are my favourite flowers."

"I was literally just blown away. I've been so overwhelmed by people's kindness. They have been so good to us.

"We kept a few daffodils and put up an honesty box on the road where people could leave one euro and take a bunch of daffodils. We raised €400 for the Gary Kelly Cancer Support Centre in Drogheda."

The 35 year old has had her medication changed since she developed an allergic reaction to the last treatment but she is hopeful the new medication will continue to prolong her life.

"I'm due to be rescanned in April so hopefully that will bring good news again."

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Eileen Rushe was blown away by the gift of the daffodils

Eileen Rushe was blown away by the gift of the daffodils

Eileen Rushe was blown away by the gift of the daffodils

She also said that she was relieved her apology from the hospital was so forthcoming.

"They admitted liability, they apologised and agreed a settlement. I wish every woman in a similar situation could have that experience from the HSE.

"I don't follow every case because I would find it too distressing but I did follow Ruth Morrissey's and I found it terrible that she and her family had to attend court over 30 times. That shouldn't be happening."

Eileen also revealed that she received the first jab of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, just days before its use was suspended.

"I was lucky enough to get the first jab on Friday so I have to wait now for 12 weeks until the next shot. Thankfully though, I didn't feel any side effects."

Eileen was diagnosed with stage three cancer in December 2018 - despite being monitored for 18 months when abnormal cells showed up during a smear test in 2017.

"On one occasion, Ltletz (the most common procedure in removing cervical tissue) was not administered but if it was, the likelihood is that I would not be facing a terminal diagnosis today," she said.

"When I found out I had cancer, I told my family and felt each and every one of their hearts break in half. There is literally nothing worse in this world than ruining the dreams of people."

After initially beating the cancer, a shortness of breath while out walking the beach last summer led to the diagnosis that the cancer had returned aggressively and had spread to her lungs and spine.

Subsequent tests were returned two months later and medics "confirmed that at this stage they don't talk about curing the cancer but controlling it - this broke me inside. They didn't have a timeline but hoped not weeks"

Despite everything Eileen still campaigns for the HPV vaccine and regular screening.

"Cervical cancer screening does work. It picked up my abnormal smears and my cancer. It wasn't the screening that failed me, it looks like it was my treatment.

"I'm 100% behind encouraging everyone to get their children the HPV vaccine and go for regular checks."

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