Appreciating life — Clarinbridge teenager to hold thank you tea party for Cancer Care West

The kettle’s on - Pictured at the serving of tea in preparation for the tea party are Mary Booth, willing waiter Sean O’Brien, Connacht Rugby, Katie Joyce and Jacqueline Joyce.

The kettle’s on - Pictured at the serving of tea in preparation for the tea party are Mary Booth, willing waiter Sean O’Brien, Connacht Rugby, Katie Joyce and Jacqueline Joyce.

Katie Joyce has been through the mill, yet she is still only in her teens. For the past two years, the Clarinbridge teenager has battled serious illness, yet through it all, has faced all her challenges with determination and realisation that you do not fully appreciate life until your health is challenged.

She is a shining example of how, faced with adversity, she has faced it down, and emerged as a young woman whose newfound appreciation of the things that matter in life, is making her an inspiration to others. A young woman whose illness does not define her, but whose strength and courage does.

Since September 2015, Katie has undergone six operations, 30 sessions of radiation and six months of chemotherapy. Now Katie is a cancer survivor and she wants to help others achieve the same goal by hosting one long tea party in Stradbally North, Clarinbridge, Galway on Friday April 28 from 11am to 7pm.

Katie, her mother Jacqueline Joyce and neighbour Mary Booth have come together to arrange this day in order to raise funds and awareness for Cancer Care West, a charity that has helped Katie and her family so much. Last Thursday, Cancer Care West won the Best of Galway charity award at the Galway Advertiser Best of Galway awards in the g Hotel, just another testament to the amazing work they do to help those who face cancer, who have survived cancer, as well as lightening the land on worried family members.

In September 2015 Katie Joyce had just started her BA in Arts at NUIG studying French, Psychology and Geography. After waking one morning with an horrendous headache, She ended up at the UHG and was quickly transferred to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.

A whole range of scans were taken during which it was discovered that there was a tumour on her brain stem.

Katie was only 17 at the time so was admitted to St Raphael’s Children’s ward. Her parents had to legally make all the decisions for her. Because this tumour was growing, the only real solution was to operate.

At this point Katie didn’t feel anxious; she felt that once she had the operation life would return to normal. The operation was successful in removing the tumour and it easily lifted off the stem but, it had started to attach to part of the brain.

The surgeon had to remove all of it and this caused bruising to the brain and the entire left hand side of her body. They also discovered that the tumour was cancerous and Katie would need radiation and chemotherapy to ensure it was fully gone.

Before undergoing this treatment she decided to donate her hair to the Rapunzel Foundation. Even at the most worrying time in her treatment, young Katie was thinking of others. Her bravery inspired those around her.

Her hair was thick and as the hairdresser was slowly cutting off her plait the realisation of what was happening kicked in. Katie sat in the chair and cried.

Now she receives ongoing support from Cancer Care West.

They are helping her get stronger but right now Katie doesn’t have much strength in the left hand side of her body. She uses a walking aid and occasionally a wheelchair.

“When you are sick you really appreciate the small things in life. You really realise what’s important in life and I definitely appreciate my life more than I used to and I love my life more than ever,” explained Katie.

Katie now realises that the ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at a time of challenge and controversy, and she has borne this challenge with steadfast courage.

Her positive attitude of spirit is also a perfect example that the fire inside her burned brighter than the fire around her. She acknowledges that while she is not thankful she had cancer, she is thankful for the things it has taught her about life.

This love of life and renewed appreciation of the things that truly matter have seen her help organising events such as the tea party. Katie and her mother Jacqueline and Mary Booth would love to see you all come along on the day. But even if you cannot make it, you can still donate through the link below.

All are welcome to attend the Tea Party and also people can donate through https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/11362752_mary-and-katie-s-tea-party.html

For more information check out Facebook www.facebook.com/events/1244120139036408/<http://www facebook.com/events/1244120139036408/>>> -Ends-

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