Harrowing interviews with people touched by cancer will be the centerpiece of a three-day Radiothon on Galway Bay FM that aims to raise in the region of €200,000 to help those diagnosed with the disease.
Among the 18 families who spoke with broadcaster Keith Finnegan is a pregnant woman who was told that unless she had treatment for leukaemia immediately she would not survive to give birth.
The woman, who was in the later stages of her pregnancy went on to have a healthy baby. While she initially recovered, she was later diagnosed with cancer for a second time, but thankfully she lives to tell the tale.
Another young woman also diagnosed with leukaemia was told she would not make it, but miraculously went on to make a full recovery.
One patient currently receiving treatment recalls how his last meal was a bowl of cereal over a year earlier. He survives on a diet of liquids after the discovery of a tumour in his throat.
Not everyone featured during the three days in aid of the Galway Hospice and Cancer Care West makes it.
A particularly heartbreaking case involved a teenager who was helped by the Galway Hospice outreach team to be cared for at home, fulfilling the wishes of his mother that her only son should die in her arms in his own bedroom.
The stories unashamedly pull on the heart strings to encourage the public to dig deep.
It is the first time in its 26-year history that the radio station has undertaken a marathon fundraising drive. It follows in the footsteps of Cork station 96FM, whose Giving for Living Radiothon has raised a phenomenal €3.2 million for local cancer services since 2008, over €4000,000 alone from last year’s event.
“I’m a director of Galway Hospice and Cancer Care West. I lost my dad to cancer at 83 after he was sick for 13 weeks. I’m only 52. I can only imagine what it’s like for younger people to go through that journey. You’re in a different space when it comes to cancer. These are all real life people going through this journey, it’s not in any way rehearsed, they haven’t been given cue cards,” explained Keith.
“The stories are emotional, highly emotional, but they’re not in any way depressing. It’s about survivors of cancer, families who went on a journey and used the services that are available. We want to take people on that journey and get the message out there that everybody can make a difference by making a donation.”
Funds will be split evenly between the two charities. Money will go towards Inis Aoibhinn, Cancer Care West’s residential facility on the grounds of University Hospital Galway and its Cancer Support Centre at Seamus Quirke Road, Westside. The charity does not charge patients or their families or friends for using its services.
The Hospice will use the money to continue its hospice at home visits to patients and their families throughout the city and county and the running of its day care centre, availing of medical assessments, recreational activities and therapies.
The entire staff of the radio station—many of whom have worked on the project in their free time voluntarily—will relocate from Sandy Road to An Taibhdhearc on Middle Street for the campaign, which airs 7am–7pm from today (Thursday) to Saturday.
The community is invited to drop in and say hello, watch the broadcasters and DJs present their shows and to share their own stories. Collection boxes have been sent to locations including schools arounds the county in a bid to get widespread support.
How to donate: Call 1850 88 55 97 or text the word Together to 53995. There will also be collection boxes at SuperValu supermarkets around Galway City.