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Tipperary Woman, On Courageous Cancer Journey, Nominates Michael Lowry

In the midst of a hectic General Election campaign, sometimes heart-warming things can happen.

Such was the case for Michael Lowry on Monday of this week when a truly incredible lady came forward to offer to formally nominate him to contest the upcoming General Election.

Pictured L-R: Mrs Geraldine Callanan, Mr Michael Lowry TD, Mr Philip Kinane (Director of Elections), and Mr James Seymour (County Returns Officer).

This touching gesture came from Tipperary’s Geraldine Callanan, a woman that Michael Lowry describes as one of the most inspirational people he has ever met and a woman of amazing courage and strength.

Geraldine was diagnosed in 2017 with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and lungs. This devastating diagnosis was made all the more poignant by the fact that Geraldine was only sixteen months married and had just welcomed her precious baby son Kevin into this world.

Geraldine’s story makes for heart-breaking reading. This vibrant young woman underwent the shock of discovering a breast lump while showering, the ordeal of endless tests and endless days and weeks of waiting for diagnostic results, the heartbreak and fear of being told she had cancer, the trauma her diagnosis brought to her husband and family and the knowledge that, what should have been the best time in her life, had turned into worst imaginable.

Geraldine began her treatment with a course of chemotherapy, which finished on her 31st birthday and resulted in some improvements. This was followed by ongoing treatment with a chemo tablet and, some months later, by a mastectomy and a five-week course of radiotherapy. After this extensive treatment, Geraldine was told she was cancer free, however she was also made aware that her condition was treatable but not curable and she knows she must be ready to fight again if or when it ever re-occurs.

Throughout her treatment Geraldine was keenly aware of the fact that the treatments she was receiving would not have been possible without a great deal of medical research into breast cancer. “Without research I would not be alive today” she says. This led to her involvement with The National Breast Cancer Research Institute in Galway and her desire to help their work by raising much needed funds.

Geraldine decided to host a Coffee Evening last October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Having met Michael Lowry at another event prior to her diagnosis, she decided to ask him to help promote her event. His response was instant, and he immediately got behind the event.

What started out as a small event exploded and the ‘Coffee Evening’ raised the staggering final sum of almost €40,000, with all proceeds being donated to the Breast Cancer Research Institute.

Both Geraldine and the Institute were overwhelmed and Geraldine says she will be forever grateful to Michael Lowry for the help and support he gave her with the event. She hoped that someday she would be able to do something to publicly acknowledge Michael’s help and that opportunity arose when she signed his Nomination Papers in the presence of the Deputy, the County Returns Officer James Seymour and Deputy Lowry’s Director of Elections Philip Kinane in Clonmel on Monday afternoon.

It was a special moment for Geraldine and a very memorable one for Deputy Lowry, who says he was deeply honoured that Geraldine travelled to Clonmel for such a significant part of the Election Campaign. “Geraldine is a true inspiration to all women who encounter cancer. She has reached out to help others by sharing her experience and by organising such a successful event for the Research Unit at Galway Hospital”, Mr Lowry stated.

Geraldine paid tribute to the “phenomenal help and support” she had received from Deputy Lowry, when he heard about her fundraiser and said it was an honour for her to nominate him and she wished him every success in his upcoming election.

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