Churchill woman Mary Bradley is planning a fiftieth birthday with a difference this month after overcoming a major emergency surgery.

Mary’s actual fiftieth birthday was in April 2022. The special occasion, however, passed by in a blur. Mary had been in hospital for the two months prior, battling a series of serious complications arising from having her bowel removed.

The surgery saved her life, and even though the months that followed were extremely difficult, Mary is happy to be alive today.

Mary Bradley

That is the reason why she wants to have a belated birthday party with family and friends later this month. People will be gathering from all over the county, including Mary’s native Castlefinn. It’s going to be an unforgettable party but there is one rule – instead of presents, Mary is asking people to donate to the Medical Rehabilitation Unit in Letterkenny. She credits the team of the St. Conal’s campus facility for helping to restart her life.

After her surgery last February, Mary was virtually paralysed. She suffered sepsis, lung failure, liver failure and kidney failure. She was taken to intensive care unit and put into an induced coma. When she woke up four weeks later, she could barely move her hands to feed herself. But it was her medical team that helped her make remarkable steps forward.

“After 4 and 1/2 months I eventually left the hospital setting and moved to the rehabilitation unit in St Conal’s Campus on a stretcher and hoisted into bed. I can very proudly say I walked out 6 weeks later on a walking stick,” Mary told Donegal Daily.

Mary and her husband John with their children Declan, Rebecca and Rachael

Mary has many people to thank for their support on her journey to recovery.  

“A very sincere thanks to my physio Donald Whoriskey and his team who never gave up on me, the head of Occupational Therapy Sharon and her team who also put me through my paces and never gave up either, the staff nurses, care assistants, kitchen staff Trisha and Edward, domestic staff Barbara & Helen always in good humour which passed on to us and brightened our days they were all part of the journey to recovery. And a very special mention to Professor Mulpeter who thankfully took over my case in the hospital and got me to the Medical Rehabilitation Unit to start my life all over again. And my wonderful husband John and my family who were with me every day, every step of the way.”

Mary, John and their grown-up children Declan, Rebecca and Rachael have had a year filled with challenges, but they are keen to celebrate what they have.

Mary has organised a big party at Wilkin’s Churchill on Friday 21st April with music and a bit of hot food and spot prizes on the night!  Music will be by Roddy Lynch The Live Lounger playing everything from the Beatles to 90s hits. The raffle is being very generously supported by local businesses and there will be one special surprise prize from the Bradleys on the night. 

Everyone is welcome to Mary’s belated big 50th, but if you can’t make it, you can leave a donation online at :

All proceeds will go directly to the Medical Rehabilitation Unit.

For updates on the raffle and more details, follow Mary’s event page on Facebook: