Pictured: Peter and Anna-Mai Crosby, with Mr Feras Abu Saadeh, Consultant Gynaecologist and staff members from the Gynaecological Department in St James’s Hospital

Bereaved father leads bike run in memory of his late daughter

Peter Crosby raised over €20,000 in Niamh's name to develop patient comfort facilities at St James' Hospital

Cavanman Peter Crosby, who lost his daughter to ovarian cancer, last weekend led a motorbike run from Bailieborough to St James' Hospital to show off a new facility their various fundraising efforts had achieved.

Niamh's Family Comfort Room has been created in St James in her memory and as a way for her family to give something back to the hospital that looked after their previous daughter through her illness.

Dad Peter has organised a number of fundraisers in memory of his beloved daughter. Chief among them is the annual Niamh Crosby Easter Sunday Memorial Run.

Peter arranged a separate run on September 18 last as he believed it important for all 55 motorcyclists, who helped him fundraise, to see what their efforts had achieved.

The new ‘family room’ in the gynaecological cancer prefab offers a comfortable and relaxed environment outside the typical clinical areas of a hospital, where patients and their loved ones can chat and connect. Previous to this project, Peter's biker group had funded for a procedure room on the hospital’s St John's Ward.

Peter’s late daughter, Niamh, who was treated in St James’s Hospital, sadly passed away from ovarian cancer at the age of just 23 years.

Niamh’s world came crashing down when she was first diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. Recalling the day in detail, Peter said: “When she first found out she was terminal, she ran out the door and she had nowhere to go, so she ran into the toilet and her mother followed her. Obviously I couldn’t go in. So me and her boyfriend just waited outside the door, we didn't really know what was going on.

“This is why we decided to make Niamh’s Family Comfort Room, so people have a place to go to think about the news they received that doesn’t resemble a hospital. We knew after Niamh died that we wanted to do some sort of fundraiser. We didn’t know until after but one of the senior staff actually gave up her office to be used as the room.”

To mark their achievement, and see the finished product, Peter and his peers left Co Cavan early last Sunday morning, September 18, riding in style, crossing county borders to reach St James’s Hospital.

The club was met by staff members of the Gynaecological Department in St James’s Hospital, who thanked Peter and his fellow club members for their contribution. Annually, the hospital sees over 300 women with gynaecological cancer referred to its Gynaecological Cancer Care Centre.

“We have a book outside the room and anyone who uses it is welcome to write their story in it,” continued Peter.

September 20 marked World Gynaecologic Oncology Day, a day that aims to raise awareness of the different gynaecological cancers, including ovarian, vaginal, vulvar, uterine and cervical cancer.

Peter Crosby explained: “Niamh always felt comfortable here, in St James’s Hospital. The staff provided exceptional care for Niamh and always went the extra mile. I’m delighted to be able to give back to the hospital, and create a space where other patients can feel comfortable, just as Niamh did. This is the second project that we’ve funded for St James’s, and we’re already looking forward to the next.”

Noel Gorman, Interim CEO, St James’s Hospital thanked Mr Crosby: “On behalf of the hospital, I would like to say a huge thank you to Peter and his club members for their generosity and for dedicating so much time to fundraising for the new family room in the gynaecological cancer prefab. Rooms like this one, offer families and patients great comfort during the most difficult of times.”