A sold-out ‘Let’s Talk About Cancer’ event has been hailed as a morning like no other as people gathered to share their journeys in aid of local charities.

The emotional event took place in Ballyshannon last Saturday. One of the most touching moments included a musical tribute to some of the amazing people who are no longer with us.

Event organiser Paul McLoone spoke of the death of his brother Philip who passed away from cancer in 1979 aged 26. Philip continues to inspire Paul and his family right up to this present day.

Paul’s words were followed by a brilliant rendition of “Parting Glass” by Diarmaid McGee and Deane James as 38 images of friends who had passed from cancer were shown on the big screen.

Watch here:

Advising people to seek help if they are encountering difficult times with cancer was the theme of the day and Tommie Gorman, MC for the event told the audience that in many instances such interventions can be life changing. 

Tommie Gorman has lived with cancer since 1994. He was diagnosed with neuro endochrine tumours in 1994 and has managed the condition since then. His documentary Ireland, cancer and Me was broadcast in 2021 whilst his book Never Better was published late last year.

“Battling cancer is not a journey you should undertake on your own and I am very encouraged that the survivorship rate has doubled in the past thirty years,” Tommie said.

Tommie Gorman, Paul McLoone and Majella O’Donnell

People travelled from all over the country to attend the Abbey Centre. “Thank you so much Ballyshannon for an overwhelming, amazing, emotional, wholesome and truly positive morning with let”s talk about cancer” were the words of Linda Murphy who came from Kildare for the occasion.

Majella O”Donnell complemented the great work of Relay for Life, Solace Cancer Care Centre Donegal Town and the Sligo Cancer Support Unit. “The work of the voluntary centre in the North West is magnificent and it is very appropriate that they held centre stage at this event”.

Organiser Paul McLoone told the audience that he was first diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and in total had experienced the illness six times in the intervening years.  

“I am often asked what is the worst thing about encountering cancer so frequently and without a doubt the answer is the loss of fellow patients to the disease. You form a very close bond in a very short space of time and the hurt you feel from their passing is very pronounced”.

There was not a dry eye in the auditorium and Siobhan Fox from Ballintra summed it up very succinctly:

“We really enjoyed it from beginning to end. We laughed, we cried, you have to make the most of every day. An absolute rollercoaster of emotions.”

Brian Kennedy wrapped up proceedings with three magnificent numbers,  ‘Recovery’, ‘The Boxer’ and ‘Carrickfergus’ and said “it was a Saturday morning like no other”. The event concluded with a prolonged standing ovation from an enthralled audience in a packed Abbey Arts Centre.

If you or someone close to you is affected by cancer you can get free information, support and advice from Freephone 1800 200 700 or supportline@irishcancer.ie