London GAA community rallies to help Siobhan
By Damian Dolan
A 25-year-old Gaelic footballer is facing the “toughest opponent” of her life after being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and is now fundraising for a life-prolonging drug.
So far more than £36,000 has been raised.
Since being diagnosed on 18 April, Siobhan, who is from Castlewellan in Co Down, says her life has been a “rollercoaster”.
After completing 25 sessions of Radiotherapy and chemotherapy in readiness for surgery to remove the tumour, Siobhan was hit with the devastating news on 18 July that the cancer had spread to her liver and that surgery was no longer an option.
Remarkably she still played for Dulwich Harps in the club’s junior football championship final with Tir Chonaill Gaels in June.
Siobhan is now going through intravenous (IV) and oral chemotherapy, consisting of one day of IV treatment every 21 days, and seven days of oral chemotherapy post IV.
“My life has been put on hold; I have gone from working for Kane Group Building Services in London, playing Gaelic for Dulwich Harps, physio for Fulham Irish and playing tag rugby to waiting on the next treatment,” said Siobhan.
“Once we received the devastating news about the cancer having spread my family and friends have done all they can to research different treatments to prolong my life.
“After several consultations with my oncologist about a cancer treatment drug suitable along with my current treatment we decided the best option for me was a drug called Bevacizumab (Avastin).
“This cancer treatment drug will be an add on to what I am currently receiving, which is not available on the NHS on the grounds that it is costly, therefore we have no alternative but to self-fund.”
Siobhan added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the prayers, love and support I have received since my devastating news.”
Dulwich Harps GAA club is planning a mixed 7s GAA tournament for Greenford on 27 October to help raise funds. The tournament will consist of elite men, ladies and social 7s, which will be mixed.
The cost will be £20 per person and followed by food and music in the clubhouse. To submit a team or to find out more contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s one of a number of events the club is planning.
Dulwich Harps posted on its Facebook page: “We are appealing to the GAA Community in London and wider afield to give what they can to help Siobhan in this battle.
“We would ask that current club members, previous players, other clubs and local businesses support these events in whatever way they can.
“It is testament to Siobhan’s unbelievable strength and determination that she lined out for our Ladies team on the 23rd June in the championship final
“She came on in the second half and had an amazing performance, all whilst going through intensive sessions of Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy.
“Everyone at Dulwich Harps sends their prayers, love and support for her as she takes on her toughest opponent.”
London Ladies chairperson Lucia Butler, said: “It was very sad to hear this devasting news of such a young beautiful lady who enjoys football so much.
“We as a board have supported Dulwich in lots of ways since hearing the news, and will continue to do so.
“We’ve spoken to girls from all the clubs in London and urged them to come along and support the 7s tournament. The girls have all been amazing, agreeing to join in the tournament and helping in any way they can. There’s been a great sense of community spirit.
“I would urge everyone to help support Siobhan in her challenge, either at the 7s tournament or by donating online.
“We are thinking of Siobhan and her family and friends and clubmates at this very tough time.”
To find out more or to donate go to: https://www.gofundme.com/help-beat-siobhans-toughestopponent