AN inspirational woman from Warrenpoint, who feared she’d never have another child after being diagnosed with cancer, has been chosen to star in a new Mother’s Day card designed to save lives. Mum of two Claire Rocks’ photograph and story of courage features on the greeting card on sale now in Tesco stores to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
The card aims to connect with, and support, people affected by the disease, while raising vital funds. Designed by UK Greetings, it is on sale in Tesco stores as part of its ongoing support of Race for Life, an inspiring series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research. Claire, who is now clear of cancer, is pictured on the Mother’s Day card dressed in a Race for Life t-shirt hugging her daughter Béibhinn, 10. Claire, 43, and husband Mark, 44, had been about to start an IVF programme when their plans to extend their family were abruptly put on hold on 3 January 2017 after Claire was diagnosed with grade three invasive triple negative breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy that same month, with immediate reconstructive surgery. And just as she was convinced that her dreams of having another child may now never happen, the hospital stepped in to arrange to have her eggs frozen ahead of six rounds of chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy.
When only one egg was in a good enough condition to be frozen, Claire was not confident the IVF would be a success. But exactly two years after treatment for cancer finished, Claire welcomed her new son Brogan into the world on 27 August 2019. Claire said: “We call Brogan our wee miracle. “He is a joy and Béibhinn is such a proud big sister. “The physical and emotional impact of cancer was incredibly hard but we got there together. “We feel blessed that our family is now complete. “Life is completely different now. “I want to do everything I can to give something back. “If my story can perhaps give hope to another woman out there going through it then that will be a positive thing. Cancer is not the end. Don’t be afraid to make plans and look towards the future once you’re through the other side.” Now Claire, who is a statistician, is looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday the 27th of March. And she’s grateful to her own mum Mary Savage. Claire said: “My mum was there every step of the way to support me when I went through cancer. “Mum lives close by so we’re lucky to see her often.”
Jean Walsh, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Northern Ireland, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Claire, Béibhinn and Tesco for their support. “By purchasing one of the Mother’s Day cards, people can make a difference in the fight against cancer. “Whether people are living with cancer, taking part in honour of or in memory of a loved one with cancer or signing up to protect their own children’s future, everyone has a reason to Race for Life. Together we will beat cancer.” Tesco colleagues and customers have raised over £60m for Cancer Research UK since 2002. Oonagh Turnbull, Head of Charity Campaigns at Tesco said: “We hope these cards will inspire others facing cancer and the money they raise will make a difference to so many lives. “For the last 21 years, our partnership with Cancer Research UK has helped to raise millions of pounds for life-saving research. We hope Race for Life across the UK this year can be the biggest yet.” The Mother’s Day cards, which are priced from £1, are on sale in Tesco stores from Tuesday 15 February until Sunday 27 March. Entries are open now for Race for Life Belfast 5K and 10K, which are on Sunday the 22nd of May at Stormont Estate, Belfast. Sign up to Race for Life at raceforlife.org Join in and share with #RaceforLife2022