Gladys Cromer from Toomevara got cancer in 1965, at the age of 44.
At the time, she had a young family and her husband, John, was extremely ill.
She says that she did not have time to think about herself â€“ only to concentrate on getting better to look after her husband and family. However, she did have to have a mastectomy and radium treatment. Widowed two years later, she did survive and has lived a busy and healthy life for the past 47 years. She now says that it is nice to let people see that there is a life beyond cancer. Her daughter Lillian says that throughout all the years, Gladys would always make a point of calling people she knew of who got cancer to give them encouragement and hope.
Last year, Gladys was the oldest person to take part in Relay for Life which was held in St Michaelâ€™s GAA grounds in Toomevara, an event to raise awareness of cancer issues and to provide hope and practical support to cancer sufferers, their families and communities. She says that she agrees wholeheartedly with the themes of Relay â€“ to celebrate those who have survived cancer, to remember those who did not, and to fight back by providing research and support. Full of life and fun, when I met her she was proudly wearing her purple survivorsâ€™ T-shirt from last yearâ€™s event. She said she was very happy and honoured to take part in Relay, and added: â€œitâ€™s nice to show people you are still aliveâ€! She had great fun at the event â€“ â€œwaving to everyone like the queenâ€! The candles of hope all around the track were lovely, and she also enjoyed the bands and the entertainment.
This year she hopes to take part in Relay for Life again on August 24/25, again in Toomevara â€“ â€œI would hate to miss itâ€, she says.
Gladysâ€™ message is that there can be life after cancer and she would like to give that hope to everybody â€“ sufferers and their families. And she encourages everybody to become involved with Relay for Life and to come along on the last weekend of August.