Michelle Woods, with children Kayla (6) and Christopher (5) and husband Jonathan.

Community stands with Michelle in ‘Fearless Fight’

A mother’s determination to spend as much time with her children as possible has rallied a community to extraordinary lengths. ‘Michelle’s Fearless Fight Against Cancer’ is a campaign that raised a staggering €190,000 in just three days.

Over 1,500 donors have contributed to the cause of Michelle Woods from Ballyjamesduff, now living in Killeshandra.

A loving wife and devoted mother, Michelle was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer, just 10 months after the arrival of her second child.

Following a four-year battle, the disease has spread to her major organs and current Chemo treatments aren’t proving effective enough.

Michelle will now travel to a treatment centre in Cancun, Mexico, called ‘Hope for Cancer’. She has been advised that a three-week intensive holistic treatment plan will benefit her immensely. Accompanied by husband, Jonathan, Michelle will avail of the treatment plan and assessments.

“Michelle is an absolute inspiration to everyone who knows her, especially her family and friends and is determined not to concede defeat to this disease. For her, time with her loved ones is so precious, she will exhaust every avenue in her battle to spend more time with her family and two young children,” her cousin Edel Smith said of Michelle.

Four days ago Edel set up a GoFundMe page with an original target of €120,000 to assist. “We are like sisters, she was my bridesmaid at my wedding. We’re a very close family. For me it was a realisation that, by going to Mexico, she will get the treatment she needs,” Edel told the Celt.

The response has been astonishing and the family were shocked by the level of support they received: “It’s just amazing,” stated Edel.

Over €197,000 has so far been pledged on the platform.

The range of events people put together included a sunrise walk on Mullagh Hill, a charity match and family fun day at Mountnugent GAA grounds, and a shopping trolley raffle by Today’s Extra in Killeshandra.

Still to come are a barbecue with music and spot prizes in MacSeain’s bar, Cornafean on June 17, and a truck and all other vehicle run with a family fun day on the Cavan by-pass on June 25.

Fighting spirit

Michelle’s journey has been a long and gruelling fight with many ups and downs along the way. Edel says Michelle’s fighting spirit inspires a lot of support: “She has a terminal cancer. It’s not curable, but this is about getting a little bit of more time with her family. That resonated with me. I just want to do everything I can to make sure finances are the least of her worries.”

“She is the life and soul of parties. She always has a big smile on her face. She always wants to seize the day and spend as much of her time with her kids at the moment,” Edel says of her friend.

While Michelle is undergoing her treatment her children, Kayla (6) and Christopher (5) will stay with their grandparents, with the wider family helping out in the coming weeks.

Edel says Michelle is overwhelmed by the the outpouring of support: “The last few weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster to say the least. Seeing the overwhelming response and support we received from the minute the GoFundMe as set up. We were nearly embarrassed to put up the target because it was so high, we thought we would not reach it.

“We passed that target in less than three days. It’s a huge testament to Michelle and her whole family.”

Those pledges are a reflection of the importance of community: “To see the community come together is the big eye opener for me. You don’t realise the power of community, family and friends until something like this is on your doorstep.”

Edel spoke of the strength of Michelle: “She is such a fighter. She just wants to have more time with her family, to be there for the milestones of her children.”

The fundraiser is hoping people will continue to support her friend: “Any donation no matter how big or small would be greatly appreciated. We hope people will keep their eyes peeled for upcoming events to bring awareness to Michelle’s fight.”

Unused funds will be donated to Friends of Cavan Oncology and other cancer charities so it will still help lots of people affected by cancer. Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/michelles-fearless-fight-against-cancer