A REMARKABLE Cork mother is refusing to let chemotherapy get in the way of raising funds for the hospital that helped her and her daughter fight life-threatening illnesses.
Nicky Hayes from Carrigaline had started preparations for a charity event with her daughter Emily when hit with the devastating news that she would need further treatment for an aggressive ovarian cancer. She had initially been diagnosed with the illness in March 2018. Rather than bow down to her situation, Nicky decided that the show must go. She has now reached the end of her chemotherapy sessions just in time for her Dance Challenge in Vienna Woods Hotel this Friday at 7pm. The event will see professionals from the mum-of-one's dance school, Nicky's Dance Studio, put amateurs through their paces for an elaborate showcase.
"Having my last chemotherapy session is a big milestone for me," Nicky told the Echo.
This isn't the first time Nicky and her daughter have bonded through difficult times.
Back in 2016 Emily's life was hanging in the balance after a sepsis diagnosis in 2016. The illness manifests itself through the presence of harmful bacteria and toxins in body tissue.
She later went on to compete in Miss Ireland.
Nicky spoke of her tough decision to carry on organising the event while fighting cancer.
"I considered not going through with it at first. It was on top of me before I realised. I knew that I needed to embrace the situation and keep going. The thought of not getting out of bed never crossed my mind. Everyone is different but I believe that if you stay strong mentally the physical side will follow."
She attributes dancing to keeping them both strong.
"Dancing got me through so much and it will get Emily through so much too. Working with children and bringing happiness to people is what keeps us going."
Cork City Ballet's founder and director, Alan Foley, who will act as a judge at the event, has been a huge support to Nicky throughout her ordeal.
"He always arrived at my door with cakes," she said. When I was in hospital my favourite thing in the world was tea and Alan's company. As a human- being he's amazing and a real forever friend."
She said they have been humbled by the kindness shown to them.
" I'm humbled by the compassion that has been shown to us. Seeing Emily surrounded by so many good people lets me know that she will be okay no matter what the outcome."
The dance teacher said that the fundraiser came as a welcome distraction.
"When you go for a hospital appointment it takes you right back to the day you were diagnosed. I'm very lucky to have a distraction outside of this."
20-year-old Emily has been caring for her mother since the diagnosis.
"After chemo I'm wiped out for three days. A lot of people will enquire where I am because I won't answer my phone. There are other young people involved in the event who are also caring for family members. Life is very different for them. Emily was never forced to care for me the way she does, but she has been there for me since my diagnosis."
Nicky and Emily said there funds will go directly to CUMH Ward 4 South and other cancer services in the Cork region.
"One of the things we're hoping to purchase is fans for the ward. I can remember being in hospital in the Summertime when it was really hot. The nurses were wearing scrubs as it was too warm for uniforms. There were no fans so Emily had to go out and source me a hand-held one. Everyone was asking where she managed to source one. It would be great if there were fans available in time for the next heatwave."
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