heartbreaking  | 

Marie Keating's daughter speaks about the loss of her mum as Concert4Cancer song is released for Mother’s Day

Marie, who had gained public recognition as the mother of Boyzone heart-throb Ronan Keating, was just 51 when she died.

Ronan and Linda Keating still miss their mum Marie.

Eddie Rowley

It's 23 years ago this month since Marie Keating lost her life to breast cancer, but her daughter Linda still finds it difficult to speak about her beloved mother without the tears welling up.

Marie, who had gained public recognition as the mother of Boyzone heart-throb Ronan Keating, was just 51 when she died.

"We all just adored the ground she walked on," Linda tells the Sunday World. "She was a charismatic woman. She had a way of making everybody feel like everything is going to be alright.

"Sure even all the other boys in Boyzone used to drive their cars up to our house, and Mam would make them breakfast before they went off to wherever they were going that day.

Marie Keating lost her life to breast cancer 23 years ago.

"Mammy used to always go to the airport to pick Ronan up when he was flying back in from wherever Boyzone had been working. She was a huge part of all their lives."

Ronan, who turned 21 a month after his mother's passing, is the youngest of the five Keating children.

"Mam had a special relationship with every one of us, but I think there was an extra bond with Ronan because he was the baby," Linda says.

"There was five years between Ronan and the second youngest, Gary, so she had time with him on her own when we were all gone to school. Then later the four of us went off to America and Ronan was the only one at home."

Linda spoke in advance of next weekend's release of the charity single, This Is Your Song, by the Mount Sion Choir and featuring Ronan.

All funds raised from the song will go towards helping the vital work of the Marie Keating Foundation, which was set up by the Keating family after Marie's untimely death. Today it offers a range of free cancer information, services and support to people around Ireland.

"As a family we wanted to prevent other families going through what we went through, feeling the heartache we were suffering and the loss we were feeling because Mam ignored what she had for two years," Linda tells me.

"We found out a year after she died that her form of breast cancer was the most curable if she had presented earlier. And that's what our message is - early detection saves lives."

Linda warned that people shouldn't ignore their symptoms, and should contact their GP if they feel they might have a problem, revealing that she herself has done this recently.

"I had a scare two weeks ago and I had to go to the breast clinic and their services are there if anybody has any symptoms," she says. "Fortunately I didn't have cancer.

"The message is that while the screenings have been paused due to Covid-19, if people are presenting to their GPs and if there are any symptoms you can go to your hospitals and they are still looking after people.

"The hospitals are a very clean environment. It was very easy to go through the services in the hospital."

The Marie Keating Foundation depends mainly on fundraising and donations to run their services, which cost €1 million a year.

Their Concert4Cancer event, which was screened on Virgin Media One in August and featured stars that included Gary Barlow and Kylie Minogue, raised €500,000 for the charity.

  • You can donate to support the cause at mariekeating.ie/donate

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