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Lorraine White with the letters she and Tara Madigan received in the post. Photograph by John Kelly

Letters provoke ‘anger’ and ‘concern’ in cancer patients

THREE Clare cancer patients who were recently included in a Clare Champion photograph with statements made about the Clare 250 Cancer Centre have received an anonymous letter containing a prayer card.
All the letters were addressed with the person’s name care of the Clare 250 Cancer Care Centre, Ballygriffey, Ruan, Ennis, County Clare. There was nothing included in the letters that would suggest the sender is connected with the Clare 250 Cancer Care Centre.
They included a card with the following prayer “Oh Holy Spirit, please help and guide me, say this prayer three times plus per day”.
Lorraine White, Ruan, who is a breast cancer survivor, expressed her surprise with receiving this letter and wondered why the sender hadn’t provided their own name and address. She believes it is linked to comments she has made about the provision of services at the centre.
Tara Madigan, who is a breast cancer patient, described the letter as “disappointing”.
“I could do without the stress and hassle. I have enough on my own plate at the moment,” she said.
She recalled while she was filling her car with diesel recently in Crusheen she was approached by an elderly man who said the Clare 250 Cancer Centre founder, John Dunne was a “good man”.
She said it is important that newly-diagnosed patients are provided with as many services as possible in centres like the Clare 250 Cancer Centre in Ballygriffey. Tony O’Malley, Ruan, who has been diagnosed with Leukaemia, said initially he didn’t think much about the prayer card at the time, apart from being a bit odd.
“I wasn’t bothered if it was sent in bad form because my address was not on it. Even if it was sent in bad form, I felt at least my wife, Pamela and our kids are safe.
“If it was sent by a genuine person who wants to send prayers to us that is fine. But the timing of this came across as very odd. Putting the Clare 250 Cancer Centre address on it concerned me.
“When I heard Tara Madigan was approached by a man, I got annoyed because I believe we have not done anything wrong. Tara is going through her own cancer journey.
“We have highlighted our concerns, which we want answers for.”
He outlined their concerns about the amount of services being provided at the centre are not meant to be critical of any person who is connected with setting it up or running it.
“I am worried if my wife, Pamela goes into town and someone approaches her to say something when the kids are with her. It does annoy me.
“The more I thought about the letter I wondered why didn’t they include my address instead of the centre’s address, why didn’t they write my home address, which would have reached me.
“It bothers me in relation to the Pamela and the kids,” he explained.
He pointed out there is no connection between Clare 250 Cancer Centre CLG and Clare Sláinte An Chláir in Kilnamona, which is an entirely different charity.

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