Covid-19 may now be grabbing the headlines, but cancer is of course still hugely prevalent in many homes here. Every family in Ireland is unfortunately touched by this disease that will affect one in two people in their lifetime.
The good news is that there has been and there is ongoing breakthroughs in treatment, and every year more and more people beat cancer. This is due in no small part to the work of charitable organisations such as Breast Cancer Ireland, which raise significant funding to support pioneering research programmes nationally as well as to promote education and awareness of the disease.
Like all charities they rely heavily on their organised events like the Great Pink Run to help get that awareness out there in the community and show that there are real people behind these charities that do benefit from them.
Colleague, friend, sister, daughter, wife to Pat and proud mother to Conor, Andrew and Harry — Úna Dillon is the real person behind the heart warming gesture made this week by the whole school community of St Aidan’s NS in Kilmanagh in an effort to raise funds and awareness on the issue. Úna was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer a year and a half ago.
Since then she hasn’t been in school with her colleagues and is sorely missed by everyone.
“Úna is an integral part of our staff, as both a friend and colleague,” said Principal of St Aidan’s Robbie Byrne.
“We are always thinking of her and she is missed by the teachers, parents and children alike. We wanted to translate these good wishes and support into positive action and we found the Great Pink Run was the perfect platform for us to do this.”
Last year, the staff were able to join Úna and her family and friends in the Castle Park to take part in the event and it was a remarkable occasion. This year, the 10th anniversary of the fun event, sees it being run virtually as all such events are doing these days.
All 12 staff members of the school took part in the virtual event over the weekend along with thousands of others around the country. However this year, the school community of St Aidan’s NS in Kilmanagh wanted to do more to support their colleague.
Eléna Byrne, a teacher in the school, spoke to KCLR’s Shane O’ Keeffe on Saturday.
“We were all so disappointed when it dawned on us a few weeks ago that we weren’t going to be able to meet up with Úna this year and we wanted to do something different to show her how highly she is thought of and missed by the whole school community,” she said.
The school hosted a Great Pink Day on Friday. All the staff and pupils of the school dug out the pink gladrags for the day and proudly showed their support for Breast Cancer Ireland.
The staff Go Fund Me page, which had under €100 a few days before, saw donations fly in and it now stands at over €2,000 raised.
Donations are still accepted on the link which can be found pinned to the top of the school twitter page @kilmanaghns. Úna, who also spoke live on KCLR, commented on how very proud and lucky she felt to be part of such a great staff.
“To say I’m blown away by the school’s incredible gesture to host a Great Pink Day this year is an understatement. I am deeply touched by the whole community effort,” she said.
Úna went on to explain how, especially in these current times, dealing with metastatic breast cancer can be a ‘very isolating and lonely road, but knowing that there’s such great support around me means so much’.
Unfortunately one in nine women will develop breast cancer in the course of their lifetime. Early detection is paramount and saves lives.
For information on how to properly check yourself, go to the Irish Cancer Society website.