9000 lights for the Irish Cancer Society

Photo courtesy of the Irish Cancer Society press release

By Geneva Pattison

The Irish Cancer Society is asking people to remember all lives touched by cancer and to pay tribute to those who have passed away from cancer in 2020. This year saw 9000 people lose their difficult battle with cancer and to commemorate their lives, the Irish Cancer Society has lit their Christmas tree up with 9000 lights in their memory. The Irish Cancer Society are also urging people to pay tribute to the 44,000 people in Ireland who have received a diagnosis of cancer this year.

The lights were turned on by the Kinsella family, who sadly lost their father Robert to oesophageal cancer in August. Robert’s daughter, Tracey, spoke of the wonderful care and attention the Irish Cancer Society’s Night Nursing service gave to her father during his final days, saying:

“When our beautiful, charming dad passed away, it was a truly heart-breaking experience. But it was something that brought a lot of comfort too, because he died peacefully, in his own bed, surrounded by 11 members of his adoring family.  His dying wish was to spend his final days in his beloved home of 80 years.  A wish that came true, thanks to the support of the Irish Cancer Society Night Nursing service.” 

Photo courtesy of the Irish Cancer Society press release

The acting CEO of the Irish Cancer Society, Conor King, has said that the 9000 deaths, equates to “25 people everyday who died from cancer”. He also wanted to send a virtual supportive hand of comfort to those who “have heard the words ‘you have cancer’ this year”. King said he wanted to thank the Irish public for their continuous support to the charity, to enable them to continue to provide “vital services to cancer patients, when they need it most”. The Irish Cancer Society are welcoming any donations at this time, as services have been stretched with people requesting more at home palliative care in 2020.

Photo courtesy of the Irish Cancer Society press release

On December 18th, radio stations across Ireland will be hosting the “Wear to Care” event to raise much needed funds for the Irish Cancer Society this Christmas. For the day, people are asked to dress up in their most festive outfits and make a donation to the charity.

These events and tributes come at a very poignant time in the year, as we learn more about the extent to which the cancer screening in Ireland has been effected due to the pandemic. Speaking to the Oireachtas Health Committee today, the Irish Cancer Society said that with the pandemic still slowing services, screenings and increasing wait times, that patients’ care will suffer. Cervical Check also spoke at the committee today, saying that because screening for cervical cancer was stopped in March and only started again in July, that this will result in only 50% of women due for screening this year being checked.

The Irish Cancer Society’s Support Line is available to help anyone affected by or with a concern about cancer. You can contact the Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700 or email supportline@irishcancer.ie.