herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Beautiful Martina (17) loses cancer battle just days before her debs

Tragic: Schoolgirl bought dress in New York for night out with pals

THIS beautiful young Dublin girl tragically passed away just days before her debs.

Martina Hannan (17) was looking forward to the school social event and had even bought a dress in New York before she lost her battle with cancer.

The student of St Mark's Community School, Tallaght, who had a wide circle of friends, postponed her Leaving Cert while she received treatment for the illness over the past year-and-a-half.

Martina's heartbroken mother, May, said that her daughter's dreams came true when she travelled to the US with Make a Wish Foundation, where she had an amazing adventure, shopping in Macys and Bloomingdales.

"Martina was 17, she was beautiful, kind, intelligent, brave," May said. "She was determined and strong throughout the illness. She had a smile right up to the end.



Danced

"She loved shopping and she went to New York, where she bought her debs dress," she added. "We all went with her and went to Wicked, saw the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.

"She even danced on the piano at FAO Schwarz."

Martina's school debs was due to take place last week and she would have turned 18 on October 9.

Doctors first suspected something was wrong with Martina on the anniversary of her father Martin's death. He died of a sudden heart attack.

"She was diagnosed with cancer a year after her daddy passed away," May told the Herald.

"It was coming up to his anniversary and we didn't know what was wrong.

"When she went for tests, we were told it was a tumour and when we got the tests back we found it was a rare form of sarcoma."

But the brave young girl, who loved children and wanted to study childcare, was strong and determined not to let the illness beat her.

Martina battled until the very end and thought through every medical decision carefully, and wanted to ensure that those closest to her were not upset.

"She got her illness when she was 16-and-a-half, although she grew up so much at the end -- even when she was told she had no hope," said her brother Ian.

"She didn't want everyone to be sad.

"She said, 'I don't have anymore tears. I've cried all that I can cry'.

"Walter Stephenson's ward at St James' Hospital was like a second home to her and the doctors and staff were so lovely," May added.

Ian's fiancee Michelle (26), who was like a sister to Martina, said that she was always thinking of others and had arranged for an early Christmas for all of her family.

"She would wait until she got me on my own and gave me a list of presents she wanted me to get everyone," Michelle said.

"She knew she wasn't going to see her godson's next birthday so she made sure she had an extra nice present for him."

Tragically, the teen passed away on September 6.

Martina was laid to rest at Newlands Cemetery on the Thursday alongside her dad and had a "huge send-off" from her hundreds of friends and family.

cmurphy@herald.ie

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