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Young Irish mum dies in Australia just weeks after devastating cancer diagnosis

35-year-old Susan Ricken was due to celebrate her daughter's first Christmas this week
Clodagh Meaney

A young Irish mother of two has died in Australia, just weeks after she was given a devastating cancer diagnosis.

In October, 35-year-old Susan Ricken was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the bowel that spread to her pelvis, ovaries, lymph nodes, and lungs.

She was initially admitted to hospital with abdominal pain, which doctors initially suspected was appendicitis. Less than a month later, the Cork woman passed away on November 19th.

Susan emigrated to Perth, Australia with her husband John Paul in 2011.

Susan and John met in Cork in 2007, and with their romance quickly blossoming, they decided to move in together.

“In 2011 we made the decision to move to Australia with the intention of only spending a year or two there, but we fell in love with the place and never looked back,” John said.

Together for 15 years, the couple have two children; 2 year old Leo and 9 month old Lucy.

John has now set up a foundation, Susan Ricken Foundation, in memory of his late wife and hopes to move home to Ireland to campaign for early cancer screening to help prevent other families from going through the same pain.

“She had no symptoms or medical history in the family but died within 4 weeks of being admitted to hospital,” he said in a statement on the campaign’s Facebook page.

“Nurses and doctors were baffled as to how she died so quick.”

Susan with husband John and their two children, Leo and Lucy.

Susan with husband John and their two children, Leo and Lucy.

“I'm living in West Australia and am campaigning to get screening tests for people aged 30+ as bowel cancer is [the] biggest killer for 25-44 year old Australians.”

“I'm an Irishman who will be moving back home and I intend to campaign in Ireland for bowel cancer screening, especially for pregnant women 30 and over.”

“I'm fully aware this is International and not just Australia or Ireland, and would love your support in campaigning for these changes.”

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Ireland with 2,690 people diagnosed annually.

On a GoFundMe page set up by Susan’s friend Grainne, she was described as a quiet soul with a heart of gold.

“She would do anything to help a friend in need,” the page read.

Without their immediate family living in Australia, friends of the couple hoped to raise funds to help give Susan more time to be with her young family.

The family now face Lucy's first ever Christmas, which will be spent without their loving mother.

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