A major fundraiser for cancer services is to go ahead as planned tonight, following the tragic death, last night, of the event’s organiser Mary Cregan, a daughter of former Fianna Fáil TD John Cregan.
Ms Cregan, 33, a qualified nurse, and based in the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick, was diagnosed with a tumour in her brain in 2015. However, despite undergoing extensive treatment for the disease, which had been in remission for a period, her tumour had resurfaced in June last year.
An estimated €40,000 has so far been raised through Ms Cregan’s “courageous” efforts to give back to organisations providing help to cancer patients, explained Jim Barry, co-organiser of the Help Fight The Big ‘C’ fundraising drive.
“Mary was an excellent person, very determined, and hard working. She had organised everything herself, right up to the very last, and the rest of us haven’t had to do much at all; it’s very sad,” he added.
Ms Cregan passed away at her home at Rowles, Meelin, near the Limerick-Cork border, surrounded by her family, including her heartbroken parents Patricia, and John, current Limerick GAA County Board Chairman.
Writing in an online blog, via a GoFundMe fundraising account, which she set up last January, she stated she “was lucky enough to have the support of many amazing charities” following he cancer diagnosis.
“Unfortunately nobody knows when cancer is going to knock on their door, but it brings amazing comfort to know that there are so many fantastic charities/organizations out there that go above & beyond every day to help people like me!”
Up to 1,000 tickets are understood to have been sold for tonight’s 9pm fundraising dance, at the Devon Inn Hotel, Templeglantine, in west Limerick, featuring music performances by Paddy Quilligan and master accordion player Liam O’Connor, of the Liam O’Connor Show, who shot to fame as original lead musician in Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.
An auction of kindly donated prizes will also take place including a variety of offerings, from pedigree Friesian heifers, to a bridal flower package, to GAA memorabilia signed by Limerick’s defending All-Ireland Hurling Champions.
The four charities to benefit from tonight’s fundraiser are, the Brain Tumour Association of Ireland, Brú Columbanus which provides accommodation for the families of patients at University Hospital Cork; ACT, (Aid Cancer Treatment organisation), which works to improve quality of life for cancer patients; and BHOC, the (Bandon Hyperbaric Oxygen Centre).
Paying tribute to Mary, last week at a press launch for the fundraiser, John Cregan said of his daughter: “She is an exceptional young woman and we are all very proud of her.”
Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin said: “It is with great sadness that I learned about the passing of our colleague John Cregan’s daughter Mary.”
“It is exceptionally sad. I want to extend my sympathies and those of my party to John, his wife Patsy and all of the Cregan family at this very sad time.”
Ms Cregan is survived by her parents and siblings Mairead and Tommy.