Mary O’Brien with her four youngest children, Ruby, Lucy-Mai, Kira and Jack.

Castlepollard woman needs help with lifesaving treatment in Germany

A fundraiser has been started to help save the life of a Castlepollard mother of six. Mary O’Brien was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2022 and had chemo and surgeries to remove tumours, but it wasn’t successful.

It was discovered she had gastrointestinal stromal tumours, hundreds of them lining her stomach, and she now needs a gastrectomy to save her life.

The treatment costs €25,000 and will take place in Frankfurt, Germany on June 28 if the necessary funds are raised.

Her partner Shane Greville said it’s “the only option” available at the moment.

“They will need to remove the full stomach and replace it,” he said.

“She also needs dendritic cell therapy and that’s where they make a vaccine from her blood cells to build up her immune system to fight the cancer.”

The diagnosis came as a “shock” to the family.

“It’s difficult because we’ve got a young family; our youngest little boy was only two years old at the time,” said Shane.

“We’ve also had lots of other illnesses in our family in the last few years, four sudden deaths since 2020 and two of them were cancer-related.

“But I’m trying to stay positive and if we get these funds together, we can get through this one.”

Shane said Mary is “staying positive” and making sure the kids are okay.

“We have two young kids with special needs, one with ASD and one with ADHD,” he said.

“Mary has two older kids who are grown up now; one in England and one in County Meath who have their own jobs and lives.

“We have four living with us and the eldest is doing her Junior Cert this year; she’s fully aware of what’s going on and has been amazing in helping out with fundraisers but we don’t want pressure on her in an exam year.”

The cost of the gastrectomy Mary needs is €6,750 and the dendritic cell therapy is nearly €18,000. Doctors in Germany say they can begin with the gastrectomy (on June 28) once the money is raised and then do the dendritic cell therapy at a later date, when enough is raised for that.

Shane said he’s been blown away by the support shown to them through an online fundraiser, which has raised €5,000 so far.

“The generosity has been very good and it’s only been running for about three weeks now,” he said.

“The people in Castlepollard and the surrounding areas have been absolutely brilliant.”

A series of fundraising events have been organised to help Mary, including a karaoke night in O’Shaughnessy’s pub in Delvin last week.

There is a family fun day at Ringtown GAA on May 19 at 2pm; a table quiz in the Annebrook House Hotel on May 23; a quiz night in the Lough Lene Inn, Collinstown on May 24; an 80s night at the Castle Varagh Hotel, Castlepollard on June 2; and a tattoo day at Angel Art, Mullingar June 3.

The Vincent’s Shop in Castlepollard will donate all monies raised there on June 7, and there will be a 20% discount on all items that day.

Donations can be made at