Frances McKenna, along with her friends and family, took on the ‘Croagh Patrick Climb’ fundraising challenge in September 2022 to raise funds for the Oesophageal Cancer Fund and St James’ Hospital, in memory of her beloved husband Raymond.
“Raymond was a devoted father and husband who had a lot to live for. Raymond was extremely healthy and experienced no symptoms until spring 2015. He initially suffered difficultly swallowing which got progressively worse in the first few months. It was February 2016 when we learned he had stage 3b Oesophageal Cancer. His treatment under the care of St James’ & Prof. Reynolds started with chemotherapy in March 2016 followed by surgery in July and more chemotherapy in September.”
Just 8 months after his surgery, Raymond himself made the decision to climb Croagh Patrick and made it to the top. He continued with his constant determination and focus on gaining back his strength, until June 2019 when he started to suffer new symptoms – restrictions in his mouth and a lump in his partoid gland.
“We then received the news that the cancer had come back and spread. Raymond did everything he could to get better with the help of St James’ and support from OCF.”
Sadly, Raymond passed away in 2020, following his illness.
“It’s been almost two years since he passed and not a day goes by without us thinking how things could have been very different if he received an immediate response to his first symptoms during the summer of 2015.”
Frances and her family completed their very poignant challenge, recreating Raymond’s own Croagh Patrick Climb, to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of Oesophageal Cancer and to raise funds to support the research and campaigns to advance early diagnosis of this difficult cancer.
“We are trying to raise funds and drive awareness of Oesophageal Cancer, to limit other people going through what Raymond had to endure to and to help other families avoid the loss of a loved one”