GALLERY: Mooncoin Midnight Walk 'has given me hope', says brave Vicky Phelan

"Atmosphere was electric and for a couple of hours, I forgot I had cancer..."

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

The Midnight Walk in Mooncoin has raised over €24,000 for local woman, Vicky Phelan.

Given just 12 months to live by her oncologists last November, Vicky set up a GoFundMe page which has raised almost €200,000 since February 13 of this year to help pay for treatment.

Several hundred people took part in a fundraiser last Friday night in Mooncoin which resulted in a donation of €24,218 to Vicky’s treatment fund.

Vicky – who currently lives in Annacotty in Limerick but is originally from Mooncoin– needs the money to meet the costs of treatment as she looks to get on to clinical trials in the US.

Vicky, who is married to Jim and is mother to Amelia, 12, and Darragh, 7, was first diagnosed with cervical cancer in July 2014, but following an aggressive course of radiation and chemotherapy, was given the all-clear late that year.

A routine scan last year, however, showed a large mass of lymph nodes around her aorta, which is inoperable. But Vicky did not give up fighting and will know by early next week if she’s made it on to a clinical trial across the water.

Speaking about the Mooncoin Midnight Walk and what the efforts of her local community mean to her, Vicky said: “It was very much a community effort. I have never witnessed such an outpouring of goodwill as I did on the night of the Walk.

"The atmosphere was electric and for a couple of hours, I forgot that I had cancer and chatted and laughed with friends, family and neighbours.

"For me, the Mooncoin Midnight Walk strengthened my resolve to beat this disease not only for me and my family but for the people who have gotten behind me. I never realised that my fight meant so much to people.”

Vicky says it “has given people hope”.

She added: “Where there is hope, there is life. And I fully intend to live.”

Giving an update on her attempts to get on a clinical trial in the US, Vicky said: “I haven’t been accepted yet. I found out last week that I have the strain of the HPV virus they are looking for.

“I have one more hurdle to get over before I can be accepted. I am waiting on one more result to come in. The trial in Maryland is looking for a specific genotype so I had to have bloods taken which they are testing at the moment. I should have a result by early next week. If I have the genotyping that they are looking for, then I am in.

“If I don’t then I am out and I will have to look at other clinical trial options that cost a lot more to participate on. I have a back up option lined up in Buffalo, New York.”

The Mooncoin Midnight Walk is the brainchild of Kathleen Driscoll and her daughter, Tracy, is also an organiser.