‘If I could be half the woman she was, I would be so proud’ – The late anti-cervical cancer activist’s family vow to continue their important work on the HPV vaccine

The family of a well-loved HPV vaccine activist has pledged to continue their work on women’s health issues on the first anniversary of her death from cervical cancer.

Rave Eileen Rushe received a “sincere apology” from the HSE for the failure of her care at Louth County Hospital just months before her death on September 28 last year.

Despite the cancer spreading to her brain, the 35-year-old campaigned for the HPV vaccine until her last days and always spoke of feeling blessed to have an amazing family and community around her.

This community has gathered around her family and teenage son Seamus since her death, and loved ones have been “overwhelmed” by the kindness and support they continue to receive 12 months later.

Her sister – and self-confessed “partner in crime” – Siobhain said Eileen will always live on in so many hearts.

Eileen, who lived in Termonfeckin, Co. Louth, was diagnosed with stage three cancer in December 2018 – despite being monitored for 18 months when a routine swab showed abnormal cells in 2017.

After initially being defeated, the cancer returned aggressively, spreading to her spine and lungs.

She had always maintained that if a common procedure to remove cervical tissue called Ltletz had been used, she probably would not have received a death sentence.

Eileen wrote about her experience on a blog.

Siobhain has revealed that she and Eileen intended to launch a website to give women a platform to discuss all the issues and issues affecting them.

“We wanted to launch a women’s empowerment website so women can speak out about anything that affects them. It was Eileen’s idea and we wanted to add research and podcasts with health professionals,” she said. “I hope that in the coming months I will find the strength to start it in their memory and part of that will be to continue to push the HPV vaccine for teenage girls and boys.

“I’m so proud of her that she was still so selfless that she really wanted to prevent other people in the world going through what our family went through and that’s how she became an advocate for the vaccine.

“I’ve been burying my head in the sand for the last year hoping she would come back but now I’m having to face the reality that it’s not going to happen.

“As a family, we all have our own windows of sadness, but we have been overwhelmed by the continued support of so many. I was told that after a few months this support would stop and we would be on our own, but that didn’t happen. Not because of what we are, but because of what Eileen was.

“She did so much good while she was alive and always smiled that people want to keep her memory alive.

“I have two boys who are 18 months and 3 months old and I find it so hard that they will never meet her and she never got to meet my baby.

“I was 16 when Eileen’s son Seamus was born and I lived with her in Galway so we went everywhere together. I know if she were alive she would be the first to join me and the boys on the days.

“If I could be half the person she was or if my sons could be half the people their aunt was, I would be so, so proud.

“My parents, Jim and Mary, find it difficult, but as a mother, I now realize that burying your child is not natural. It’s just been a terrible year, if I’m being honest.

“You spend most of your time pretending nothing happened, but then we see this teenager (Seamus) and you can see how heartbroken he is every day.

“Yes we are all so angry about what happened to her and we feel it every day but it’s not going to bring her back.

“She wasn’t bitter – the only thing she was worried about was leaving her son and he understandably finds it difficult. He is such an amazing boy and does her so much credit. We just have to try to help him as best we can.”

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/if-i-could-be-half-the-woman-she-was-id-be-so-proud-family-of-late-cervical-cancer-campaigner-vow-to-continue-her-vital-work-on-hpv-vaccine-42022276.html ‘If I could be half the woman she was, I would be so proud’ – The late anti-cervical cancer activist’s family vow to continue their important work on the HPV vaccine

Fry Electronics Team

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