Terminal cancer patient’s battle against cutbacks

Jackie Crowe, who has a rare terminal cancer, is a patient attending the oncology unit in Kerry General Hospital, Tralee, which will benefit from the weekend concerts in the INEC, Killarney.

Terminal cancer patient’s battle against cutbacks

She said the unit is smaller than her own kitchen and more services are needed in Tralee. “I hope someone will help us,” she pleaded.

Jackie, 50, spoke on the TV3 programme People’s Debate with Vincent Browne, recorded in Killarney, on Wednesday night, saying she was given three months to live when diagnosed two years ago as having neuroendocrine tumours.

It took her a year to get the help she needed in a specialist unit at St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin.

“You must do your own homework when you get cancer. It’s a shame,” she said.

Jackie, a mother of two and who lives in Tralee, said there is a brilliant oncology team at Kerry General Hospital, but they need far more resources.

Over a year ago, she told her heartbreaking story in a TV3 documentary.

Two years prior to hearing the news of her condition, she was made redundant, which left her in a difficult financial situation.

She fell behind with her mortgage and, in an attempt to meet the payments, Jackie stopped paying her life assurance policy, unaware of the uncertain future she would face due to her illness.

She was told by a bank that if she died, her €110,000 mortgage would not be paid off, as she was in arrears on her mortgage protection policy.

“If my story stops just one other person dropping their life assurance or highlights just how cutbacks are affecting our health service, then I’ll be happy if that’s part of the legacy I leave behind,” she said.

Jackie said she is angry that cutbacks have resulted in a lack of proper care and described the feelings of people after they learn they have a terminal illness.

“No one knows the hell you go through when you get the diagnosis,” she declared.

Jackie told how she found herself pulling back from those nearest to her “because the hurt in their eyes reminds me that I’m dying. However, mainly I’m doing it because they have been through so much, too much, this last few years.”

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