A nurse who thought her cancer symptoms were caused by a ‘bug’ she caught while on holidays died in hospital just months later.
Orla MacManus, 49, passed away in the early hours of April 11 after the discovery of her stage four lung cancer with secondary tumours in her lymph nodes, liver and kidneys.
Family and friends are taking part in a fundraising walk for Marie Curie to remember the mum-of-one, who had one daughter and four grandchildren, Belfast Live reported .
Orla’s siblings – Paula, Eileen and Pat say their sister’s death has had a massive impact on the whole family and that they are raising money for the nurses who cared for her in her final days.
They said: “The first signs that something wasn’t right appeared after Orla and her partner, Connor, arrived back from a holiday in Prague.
“They both felt a bit unwell and just put it down to catching a bug on the plane. When things didn’t improve for Orla, she went down to the hospital explaining about her breathlessness.
“Initially they thought she had pneumonia , but then they discovered her whole heart was surrounded by fluid.
“Orla had an emergency operation and when they looked at what caused the fluid, they found the cancer cells.
“She was at stage 4 and the following week she was told it had spread across her whole body – she knew how bad it was and that was hard for her.”
Orla soon started her on her first course of immunotherapy following her shock diagnosis and for a short while she had no symptoms.
Her siblings went on: “Then her lung filled with fluid and when it kept happening, we were told she wasn’t strong enough for any more treatment.
“At this stage, Orla knew that she would probably have less than six months, but no-one expected her to go as quickly as she did. Just 60 days after receiving her diagnosis , Orla passed away.”
The family have been fundraising for Marie Curie since their dad’s death in March 2018 and will be taking part in the Twilight Walk with 30 of Orla’s close family and friends.
“ Marie Curie did so much for us. It’s a very special place, with very special people,” the MacManus family said.
“Orla knew when dad was cared for there, he really improved, so it reassured her and us, that she was getting the best care available.
“She knew that she would be given what she needed – the pain relief was a different level and because its such specialist care, that gave us all some security.
“The staff wouldn’t miss anything – it’s such a brilliant place and that’s why we’re doing the Twilight Walk this September.”
The Twilight 7K Walk will take place on Friday 27 September. If you would like to take part and join Orla’s family, visit the Marie Curie website.