Cathy’s fight to make cancer drug available to all who needed it ‘an amazing legacy to leave behind’

Cathy Durkin’s three young children brought a family photograph, a camera, an apron, and story books to the altar for her funeral Mass in Dublin yesterday.

They were all poignant mementoes of how much Alex, 11, Alyssa, 8, and Conor, 4, will miss their mother, who fought to make a drug available for cancer sufferers like her.

In emotional interviews last April, Cathy said she believed the drug was her only chance of extending her life but the HSE had refused to pay for it.

Cathy, 41, died last Saturday in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, following her successful fight to get the melanoma cancer treatment drug Ipilmumab, known as Ipi, available to all who needed it.

Cathy, who had worked as a chef before her illness, started her treatment in St Vincent’s Hospital in May, a week after she appeared on The Late Late Show.

There was standing room only in the Holy Trinity Church in Donaghmede when chief celebrant, Fr Eoin McCrystal, said Cathy’s short time on earth had been full of life and compassion.

He said Cathy’s husband, Michael, told him after Mass last Sunday a passage from St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians read out during the celebration summed up Cathy’s attitude to life.

It read: “Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience.”

Fr McCrystal said Michael decided on the Parable of the Good Samaritan for Cathy’s funeral Mass because of the love and compassion that had flowed between her and the people who supported her campaign.

“Cathy received so many cards and letters from people from all over the country offering their financial, prayerful and practical support during her campaign and illness. It really meant a lot to Cathy and, indeed, to all her family,” Fr McCrystal said. “She was a true inspiration for so many people.”

Cathy’s sister, Celine Hopkins, who gave a eulogy at the end of the Mass, said Cathy always loved taking care of people so it was a complete shock when she was diagnosed with cancer last June.

Celine said it was because of her sister’s bravery and the support she received from people that no other family would have to fight to get access to Ipi.

“That in itself is an amazing legacy to leave behind but her real legacy that will continue is her lovely spirit, kind and gentle nature, strength and courage,” she said.


Lifestyle

Interiors voyeurism will never go out of style – not least when we’re all confined to barracks and eyeing up neglected corners of our own residences that could do with TLC.Home of the Year: Three doors swing open tonight to offer us a welcome distraction

With (hopefully) better weather on the way along with the longer evenings, gardening and nature offer a nice distraction to the news cycle.Podcast Corner: Green fingers and creature comforts

From Kaia Gerber to Oprah Winfrey, why not let a famous face choose your next read?The 4 best celebrity book clubs to virtually join

The tips and home treatments to stop your skin from backsliding.The Skin Nerd: How can I maintain my skin results at home?

More From The Irish Examiner