Mum's plea 'My son will become an orphan' - mother urges uptake of HPV vaccine
A mother is urging parents to get the HPV vaccine for their children despite facing her second battle against aggressive cervical cancer.
Eileen Rushe (35) learned last week that her cancer had returned in an aggressive form and spread to her lungs and lymph nodes.
She says that if the HPV vaccine was available when she was a teenager, she would not be leaving her son an orphan because of cervical cancer.
Ms Rushe - who got the all-clear from stage three cancer a week after her son Seamus (13) received his Confirmation last year - begins intensive chemotherapy treatment tomorrow.
A GoFundMe page was set up by her sister, Siobhan Gibbons, to relieve Ms Rushe of financial worries that may arise and has raised over €14,000 so far.
Her sister has also pledged to run a fundraising mini-marathon, despite being 21 weeks pregnant.
Ms Rushe, from Termonfeckin Co Louth, blogged about her last cancer fight on her page 'Cervical Cancer is a B*tch' and is an advocate of the HPV vaccine for boys and girls. The vaccine can prevent many forms of cancer, including cervical and penile.
She was first diagnosed with stage three cancer in December 2018, despite being treated for abnormal cervix cells over the previous 18 months.
On learning of her diagnosis, she wrote: "It's after seven and I've not cried for about an hour which is the longest since my oncology appointment - major win. It was the toughest day of my life.
"It will be tough, I am working on a little less self pity and a bit more strength and positivity but I'm hugely thankful for all the offers of help and support from wonderful family, friends and community.
"Even now I'm crying. I am grieving for the debs, driving lessons, when he'd hate me from stopping him hitting the town, leaving cert, college graduation, wedding and magical grandbabies. I just have to take a deep breath and try and enjoy the present."
Ms Rushe said if the vaccine had been available to her as a teen, then her son wouldn't be losing his mother.
"My child will be an orphan because of an illness that I got because this vaccine wasn't available to me as a teenager. If that's enough to make just one mother get the vaccine for her child or get a smear test or any other check done, then it's worth saying," she said.
Ms Gibbons said their family's lives had been "shattered to the core" after learning her sister's cancer had returned.
"My absolute rock, best friend, other half and sunshine to my day has been given a diagnosis that I just hope for miracles to get as much time as possible," she said
"Unfortunately, the plan to return to her career in Irish Life has been stopped in its tracks so we have set up this GoFundMe page to raise some money to help with travel, treatment and overall living costs to make life as easy as possible for herself and my beautiful, courageous nephew Seamus."
Donations can be made here.