Solas Centre South East Cancer Run and Walk for Life means so much too so many.
As we move ever closer to the start date of 11th October for the “Run and Walk for Life 2015” the importance of the Solas Centre cannot be lost to anyone. The facility continues to play a vital role in the lives of individuals and families affected by cancer.
Speaking as Chair of the 2015 RFL Michael Garland commented, “The 2015 events are all about bringing the Solas Centre’s activities back into the community and what better way to demonstrate this than by reading the testimonials of some of the people who have actually used the Solas Centre. We would like to get this important messaging out to members of the public over the next few weeks and as well as doing this through the usual printed sources we are also running a number of testimonials with Beat 102-103, our media partners.
The 2015 RFL is a major fundraiser for the Solas Centre and this year’s “two events in one” will allow many, many more people to participate. As well as introducing the 5-mile walk to the now traditional 10-mile run we have removed the event “entry fee” and we would ask all the participants to raise as much sponsorship as they can. There is no lower or upper limit on how much you can raise and all we would ask is that you take on board the range of services the Solas Centre provides and raise an appropriate amount to contribute to the continuation and expansion of those services.”
One of the existing clients of the Solas Centre is Fiachra Ó Céilleachair (originally from An Rinn) and his family, and he gave a moving testimonial during the launch of the Run and Walk for Life routes. Like so many others before Fiachra and with many more active clients coming to the facility in the future, the Solas Centre is looking to expand its range of services with the help of thousands of participants in the 2015 Run and Walk for Life.
Fiachra commented, “Encounters with cancer vary. It’s not easy to cope, irrespective of one’s strength, medical help or support of family and friends. The range of services offered, free of charge, by the South Eastern Cancer Foundation can and does provide light. Appropriately, their friendship is termed “Solas” – the Irish for light. In 2010, Siobhán was diagnosed with melanoma. We had two young children and, whilst initiating treatment, discovered Siobhán was expecting our third. Despite intensive surgery, the pregnancy survived.
Months later, however, the cancer returned. Our daughter had to come out six weeks early, amidst more surgery. Later, Siobhán required oncology and was prescribed the newly approved ipilimubab. Complications arose in 2012 and chemotherapy, radiosurgery and radiotherapy followed. In February 2013, Siobhán’s prognosis was months rather than years and by June, it was weeks. On Saturday 27th July, Siobhán texted invites for our eldest son’s eighth birthday set for the following Saturday. In the meantime, cancer eventually took her.
Ruán’s party went ahead, as his Mom wished, and Siobhán’s funeral was two days later.
Since then, there’s a tree and plaque in Siobhán’s memory at the park in Dunmore East – looking out to the sea where her ashes were scattered. I wouldn’t wish our journey on anyone. From the first steps, up to today in the case of mine and the children’s, the Solas Centre has been there for us. Initially, it was an independent source for Siobhán to talk to. In turn, she attended for reflexology. Solas was a kind of oasis and the counselling there was invaluable. I’ve availed of it myself. Conscious of possible effects on our children, all five of us participated in art therapy sessions.
After Siobhán’s passing, I’ve turned to Solas to underpin comprehension of and reaction to all that has happened. Being a friend of the Solas Centre helped Ruán, Sadhbh, Gráinne and I to be as resilient as we could and can be. Ebullient and interested in others, Siobhán in 2009 prior to cancer being currency in our own lives, ran in the Solas “South East Run for Life”. Subsequently, I’ve walked it. I’ll be very proud when our three children will have the opportunity to join me in doing so in 2015. We’ll never forget the extraordinary person that Siobhán was. In our lives, she is a light that will never go out. The Solas Centre is also a resource beyond the ordinary, a light that should be there for others to see and benefit from. Please join us in supporting the “South East Run for Life 2015”.
Details on the Solas Centre and how you can get involved with the 2015 Solas Centre Run and Walk for Life can be found on www.solascentre.ie or by contacting the Solas Centre directly on 051 304 604 or on Facebook by searching with Solas Centre South East Run for Life.