"The 3rd June will be a very special day for me, my family and friends". Mary Smyth, Eist Cancer Support Centre, Carlow

Mary Smyth from Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow, has taken part in the Women’s Mini Marathon for many years.  In 2001, at the age of 45, two weeks after taking part and raising funds for Breast Cancer Research, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  At the time, she was working full-time, as well as being a mum to three teenagers and a 2 ½ year old.  She had a mastectomy and 12 chemotherapy sessions, recovered well and life resumed as well.  Since then, Mary has organised a group of ladies from Carlow to participate in the Mini Marathon, and she has stood on the start line as a salute to good health and wellbeing as each year passed.


In 2012, thanks to the fundraising efforts of Mary and her group, the Eist Cancer Support Centre opened its doors to the public in Carlow.  The centre, now in its 6th year, provides a wide range of services for all cancer clients.  Mary says that “I am very proud to be involved with the setting up of such a vital service for our local community.  Our group completed our 17th consecutive Mini Marathon in 2017, and over that time we have raised in the region of €130,000 for the Eist centre.”


In October 2017 Mary was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  Mary explains: “A cancer diagnosis has been described as having the effect of an earthquake powering through the very foundations of one’s life and spreading all the uncertainties of life around one. A second brush with the disease certainly does that.”  Mary had surgery last October and has just completed six rounds of chemotherapy.  She will continue with immunotherapy treatment for the next year.


Alongside her daughters, five sisters, nieces, other family members, neighbours, friends and clients of Eist Cancer Support Centre, Mary will line up for her 18th Women’s Mini Marathon on the 3rd June and take what she considers to be the first steps on the journey back to good health again.  As Mary says, “the 3rd June will be a very special day for me, my family and friends.  A day of fun and laughter but most of all a day filled with hope.”


About Eist Cancer Support Centre

The Eist Cancer Support centre started life as the Carlow Breast Cancer Support Group which was set up by a group of breast cancer survivors in 2004. Eist is a registered charity (CHY16678), affiliated to the Irish Cancer Society. The centre opened to the public in October 2012 at the Waterfront, Mill Lane, Carlow for the benefit of all county Carlow citizens and those who live in the surrounding areas.

A cancer diagnosis can be a life shattering experience for the whole family and the Eist centre is a peaceful, tranquil, supportive place where all those affected by cancer can avail of support.  Visit www.eistcarlowcancersupport.ie for more information.



Triona Driscoll