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Cervical cancer campaigner Eileen Rushe dies aged 35

The 35-year-old mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2018.

Eileen Rushe
Eileen Rushe
Image: RIP.ie

CERVICAL CANCER CAMPAIGNER Eileen Rushe has died aged 35. 

She had settled a case against the HSE in March of this year after Louth County Hospital in Dundalk failed to properly investigate and treat her illness, LMFM reported. 

The Termonfeckin native was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2018. After being declared cancer-free in June 2019, the disease returned aggressively last year, spreading to her spine, lungs and brain.

She died today at St Francis Hospice in Blanchardstown, Dublin surrounded by her family. 

“Peacefully at St. Francis Hospice, Blanchardstown surrounded by her loving family age 35 years, after fighting her illness with great dignity and courage,” a notice on RIP.ie reads. 

“Devoted and loving mam to Seamus and much loved daughter of Jim and Mary, loving sister to Siobháin, Darragh, Eoin and Terry. Very sadly missed by her heartbroken son, Dad, Mam, sisters and brothers, sister in law Laura, brothers in law Seán and Stephen, niece Saoirse, nephews James her God-Son Conán and predeceased by her infant niece Kitty, her special and devoted friend Elaine, loving aunts, uncles and many remarkable cousins, extended family and her very large circle of friends.”

Eileen’s wish is for family and friends “not to wear black clothes to her funeral” on Monday.

In a statement this afternoon, the Irish Cancer Society said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the passing of inspirational cervical cancer advocate and HPV vaccination campaigner Eileen Rushe”. 

“Eileen was a truly wonderful person who left a profound impression on all who had the privilege to know or deal with her, and her enduring legacy will be the many people her words helped influence to protect themselves and their loved ones against avoidable cancer diagnoses in future,” it said. 

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Eileen was a tireless campaigner for the HPV vaccine throughout her own battle with the disease. At the end of August, while in the Mater hospital, she posted on Instagram to remind people to “check yourself, take part in screening programmes, vaccinate your children, check all your bits and mind yourself”. 

At the beginning of the same month, she made a powerful video in which she told her thousands of followers that cervical cancer was going to kill her but that other people could protect themselves and their children. 

Her blog, Cervical Cancer is a B*tch, chronicled how she lived with the disease – and highlighted her advocacy work. 

In a post in January 2021 for Cervical Cancer Awareness Week, she told the story of her diagnoses while also explaining how smear tests work. She wrote of hospital appointments, family support and the devastating act of having to tell her son about her terminal prognosis. 

The blog ends by saying: “That is my story about how cancer steals everything. Don’t let it take you. Partake in screening programs – smears, mammograms, bowl… take vaccines, give your children vaccines. If you feel a lump, change in discharge, change in size, notice a change in your body get checked, ask an expert, visit your doctor most likely it is nothing, but what’s the harm in asking?? Be safe protect your family protect yourself. Any questions please ask..”

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