A young Carndonagh woman will take on a big challenge this May in honour of her mother - a lady who was admired for her relentless strength and devotion.

Rosemary Doherty, aged 23, is doing a solo skydive in memory of her mother Eileen Doherty nee Leavey, who passed away last year after a battle with cancer.

Eileen’s anniversary on May 18th will see Rosemary taking on the challenge as a show of gratitude and support to the staff of Galway University Hospital Oncology Ward who cared for Eileen during her illness.

Looking back on her mother’s life, Rosemary has paid a touching tribute to the woman who raised her, her twin brother James and younger brother Connor (16).

Rosemary and her mum Eileen Doherty

Eileen Doherty RIP

Rosemary said: “Mum was the light and soul of the family and her smile would light up the whole room , she was an extremely hard worker her whole life and was devastatingly taken at 54 after giving it her all in her battles with cancer.

“Mum single-handedly raised us without a helping hand from anyone, something I am very proud of, because even if I say so myself, she did a fine job.”

Rosemary recounts the bright spirit her mother had, and how her love of life and friendship meant she was like a sister to her:

“Anyone who knows mum will know she had magic in her step and a sparkle in her eye. She was mad into country music and dancing, sadly after several attempts from mum, my jiving hand isn’t quite up to scratch.

“Mum was a non drinker and non smoker but that didn’t stop her making friends and socializing along her journey. She was admired by all. Mum was my hero, my best friend and my world, we were more like sisters who did everything together, I will always be eternally grateful for everything that my hero did for me.”

Eileen and Rosemary Doherty

Eileen was very independent, Rosemary said, and she never shied away from hard work and DIY in the family home.

“All the struggles Mum had throughout her short years on earth and I never once heard her complain or give up. She just always tried to take the good from every situation and approached life with a positive stride,” Rosemary said.

Rosemary and Eileen

Eileen was a great gardener too, and Rosemary now buys a fresh bunch of roses each week in honour of that hobby and as a loving tribute.

“I often thought growing up that mum had to have magic fingers because she could make anything grow, she would often spend hours in the garden working away and that’s why it looks exactly how it does today,” Rosemary said.

Rosemary had previously completed a tandem skydive for Cancer Research

Rosemary explains that her upcoming solo skydive challenge is a celebration of Eileen’s inspirational strength and a show of thanks to the medics who showed outstanding care for her on her final journey:

“To this day, mum is the strongest person I know and will always be so, she approached everything in life with such strength, even her illness and then sadly in the end, death.

“So this takes me to why I’m here today. In memory of this very special lady, I have decided to do a solo skydive on Mum’s 1st anniversary on the 18/05/18.

“All monies raised will be donated to Galway University Hospital, The Oncology Ward, Patient Comfort Fund.

“All support no matter how big or small will be greatly appreciated. I have sponsor sheets and also set up a Go Fund Me page.

Rosemary says she chose Galway Hospital as the beneficiary of her fundraiser because she said the local health service had ‘let down her hero’.

The treatment and support mammy received from GUH was outstanding from each and every member of staff, in particular, the team mum was under, Dr Eamonn Rodgers and Mrs Catherine Dowling.

“I went through the battle with mum every step of the way and I can never thank Galway Hospital enough. That is why I have decided to give something back.”

If you would like to support Rosemary’s skydive visit: www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-eileen-doherty

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