A 48-year-old mother of two has been offered a lifeline which may help her beat cancer and see her children grow up – but she will have to come up with €110,000 a year, possibly for many years to avail of it.
And the generosity of those who read about the plight of the well-known secondary school teacher have so far raised €110,000 which will pay for the first year of treatment.
Miriam Kennedy, originally from Castletown/Ballyagran and mother of Caoimhe (18) and Tiarnan (17) said “all the light was crushed from my soul,” when she was diagnosed with cancer in late 2017.
“Naturally, as many in my position do, I put on my game face, promising my family that I would fight this diagnosis. We as a family have been on an overwhelming life-altering journey as I received treatment to shrink my tumours and a number of surgeries to remove my stage 4B cancer.
A teacher with Laurel Hill Coláiste Luimneach, Scoil Carmel in Limerick City, and more recently John The Baptist Community School in Hospital, Miriam takes students for home economics and Irish.
“Unfortunately, my recent scan in May revealed the crushing news for us that my treatment to date has not been fully successful and that my cancer still remains. I don’t qualify for any trials in Ireland or Europe and currently, all frontline treatments have been exhausted to me. I felt my future was like being in a short corridor where all the exit doors were locked”.
But some measure of hope arrived in June when Miriam tested as being suitable for Immunotherapy.
“It was like as if that locked exit door now had a key. I received my first dose of Immunotherapy on August 15.
“The downside of this potentially life-saving treatment, however, is that I must self-fund its cost which is in excess of €110,000. This is a yearly expense and for an indefinite amount of time. We’re usually a very private family but, after long and hard discussion, I decided to go public as the cost of this treatment is too much to sustain for me and my family”.
Miriam says that in some cases, immunotherapy is funded “but I just didn’t tick the boxes to have it funded. Yet I have to say that my own experience of the health services has been very positive”.
Miriam now has a Go Fund Me page and she says that so far, she has been amazed “at the generosity and caring that people have shown. It’s a great platform because people can donate anonymously, they can give €5 or any amount and all of those donations add up”.