Ennis gig to aid leukaemia fight

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Eric McNevin

ALMOST a year after being diagnosed with leukaemia Ennis man Eric McNevin is on the road to recovery and planning to help other cancer sufferers to do the same.
Eric fell sick while at work in Dell, Limerick, last May. Initially diagnosed with a viral infection, Eric and his young family’s lives were turned upside down after a visit to the hospital.
Eric recalls, “I came home after getting the antibiotics from the chemist and went to bed. I was as weak as a kitten for four days. In 17 years at Dell, I had only taken two days off sick. On the Tuesday, my wife came in and asked me had I looked at myself in the mirror. I went in and the whites of my eyes had all gone yellow and I was covered in bruises. She said, ‘Get dressed, we’re going to the hospital.’ We went to St John’s, they did a few blood tests and I was diagnosed with Leukaemia, as quick as that.” The 42-year-old was transferred to St James’ Hospital and placed into a drug-induced coma.
Eric explains, “I was in intensive care for two months. I went rapidly downhill. I was in the Burkett Ward, the same ward Ger Loughnanne was in when he was up there. I was there for another three months. I had four or five rounds of chemo. Then they decided I need bone marrow transplant. There were no compatible donors in my family. It had to be an unrelated donor so they found a match for me in Germany.”
Eric, a member of the Avenue United panel that reached the final FAI Junior Cup in 1990, underwent a bone-marrow transplant last September.
He is now well on the road to recovery. Eric says, “I’m in remission at the moment. I had a blood test in December to see how many of the donor cells are showing up in my system compared to the old cancerous cells. I’m at 98 per cent donor cells. They want 100 per cent but 98 per cent is great. From a high of taking 22 tablets a day, I’m down to three tablets a day. I’m in James’ once every two weeks.”
Eric is now organising a fundraiser in aid of the Bone Marrow for Leukaemia Trust in St James’ Hospital, Dublin.
The event takes place in Charlie Stewart’s Pub, Ennis, on February 28. Music will be provided by Forget Mondays, Sinjain, Damien Gormley and members of the Kilfenora Céilí Band plus friends.
Raffle prizes include a jersey signed by members of the Irish rugby team, signed rugby balls and a signed Clare jersey. Tickets available from Charlie Stewarts and Ennis Golf Club priced at €10.
Eric says he is grateful to his wife Sian, two sons, family and friends for all the support he has received.
Having achieved notable success on the football field, Eric now hopes his greatest victory is yet to come.

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A native of Ennis, Ronan Judge completed his Journalism and Communications Diploma course at Griffith College. The Clare People is his first newspaper appointment. Contact Ronan on [email protected]

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