Light up a Life has offered great solace and joy to so many people since it began in 1992. Last year, some 35,000 people were lovingly remembered through lights sponsored in their name. It is the way, so many people choose at Christmas time to remember their loved ones and the people close to them, who have lit up countless lives while they were alive and so deserve to be remembered.

Through the lights sponsored on lightupalife.ie those tributes can beam across the world. Light up a Life is the most important annual fundraiser for Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services – and it’s your participation that makes it so memorable.

Last year, Light up a Life raised €465,000 for urgent patient services and facilities improvements. As our services grow in demand we need your support more than ever. Your support will be put to work will be put straight to work funding our essential frontline services and paying for much-needed equipment and facilities – ensuring both patients and their loving families receive all the dignity, respect and comfort they deserve.

So in sponsoring a light for €6 there is a double benefit to your moving act. In honour of the person you have lost, your gift will be directly improving the treatment and care of patients here in Our Lady’s Hospice & Care

Services in Harold’s Cross and Blackrock. If you’re missing someone this Christmas, remember them – in the most magical and moving way. Light up their life. And once you have remembered your own loved ones, take some time to browse through the tributes, photos and stories shared by others.

“There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle” St. Francis of Assisi

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When love is Strength + Strength is love

The remarkable story of one woman’s battle to confront life-shortening illness and how Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services are helping her to continue to live her life to the full.

When Noeleen first came to Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services in Harold’s Cross, she was still trying to come to terms with a cancer diagnosis that will end her life far too soon. But once she came under the care of the wonderful staff here, everything changed for her.

“I can’t describe the calmness that came over me. I was so relaxed. There is a difference here. There’s a feeling. I used to believe that if I was thinking about death, then I was giving up. But they made me realise that I could face my prognosis and still keep on fighting – living a busy and fulfilled life.”

Throughout her life Noeleen has been the loving and dependable rock at the centre of so many people’s lives – her loving husband Gerry, her two wonderful daughters and her four sisters. But it’s not just her family that have relied on Noeleen’s selfless dedication and strength – so have many others.

For most of her working life Noeleen was a vital and popular manager in a major Dublin department store and in recent years served as a key administrator in a local homecare service. And outside of work Noeleen was one of the most important figures in women’s rugby, eventually becoming the longest serving representative on the Leinster Women’s Rugby Committee and the youths representative on the IRFU (Irish Rugby Football Union) Women’s Committee.

“That was one of my proudest achievements.” Noeleen says. But then, just a few short years ago, Noeleen’s life and health suffered a major blow.

“I found a lump. I knew it was cancer the minute I saw the look on the face of the girl who was scanning me. I went home and I sat the kids down and said – I have breast cancer but I’m going to fight it. And I’m going to fight it my way.”

For the next few years Noeleen met challenge after challenge head on. But it was a difficult journey. The side effects of chemotherapy were severe and unfortunately the cancer kept coming back until, eventually, Noeleen was told it had spread to her lungs and spine. But still Noeleen continued to fight, resisting the restrictions her condition placed on her.

“When they suggested I go to the hospice, first I said ‘no way’. I told them I had to fight and I couldn’t fight lying in a bed. But they explained what a positive place the hospice is and they told me they’d always respect my wishes. So then I thought, this is where I need to go.”

Over the last few months Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services have provided Noeleen with all the expert care, pain management, counselling and therapies she needed – so that she is free to focus on life and what really matters.

“I haven’t made a bucket list or anything like that. All I want is to be mentally and emotionally able to cope – and for my family to be able to cope. And to see my daughter graduate with her medical science degree.”

“You get treatment here you wouldn’t get anywhere else. And they don’t just treat your condition, they treat you – as a person. Physically, emotionally, psychologically. They help you change your life so you can live your life.”

The impact of that care has been profound. The staff in Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services have enabled Noeleen to face the severe challenges of her prognosis with positivity, reassurance and support. And with the help of our Home Care team Noeleen is also spending precious time at home with her loving family. And she is just as determined as ever.

“I’m just taking it day by day and if one of these days I’m told I don’t have long, I will have no regrets. It’s this place… I don’t know what it does, but it opens you up.”