Many have used the word unfair to describe what happened to Gemma. It was; it was cruelly unfair that Gemma was robbed of her life just as it was truly beginning. Death is never easy, but at its best it allows people to live a long life and arrives as an unwelcome but expected guest; it grants people time to understand, time to talk to friends and family and time to say goodbye. Gemma was given none of these graces. Her death was sudden, swift and far too soon. Gemma was only 26.
There was no warning that Gemma was ill. While many of us have been exposed to the pain of Cancer through family and friends, there are few forms of this terrible disease as aggressive and unrelenting as Sarcoma. It seems incredible that on December 27th Gemma was out with us eating, drinking and laughing. She fell ill that evening, was admitted to hospital with suspected appendicitis on December 31st, started chemotherapy on February 2nd and died two days later on February 4th. From start to finish, the cancer killed her in a little over a month.
For much of Gemma’s stay in hospital, the doctor’s struggled to reach a diagnosis and we had little indication of the seriousness of the disease or its breathtaking speed. She was finally diagnosed with soft tissue Sarcoma just days before the end of her life. During her illness, Gemma faced this lack of information and the great pain she was suffering with inspirational courage and a stubborn determination to fight the disease –whatever it was. Yet, there is no shame in saying that despite her best efforts to shield her family and friends from her fears, Gemma was scared. Scared that despite being in a hospital so much about what was happening to her was unknown; particularly about her future.
Little is known about Sarcoma because it is so rare. For those diagnosed with the cancer, a disproportionate amount of whom are young adults who, like Gemma, are unexpectedly flattened in the prime of their life, the options are few and the outlook bleak. We want to change that. To help those who face the frightening days Gemma endured to receive better information, better diagnoses’ and better treatment. Please give generously to the Sarcoma Trust.
From the Boland Family
Please contact Rory Boland at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
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