A heartbroken family who lost three members to cancer within four weeks are turning their grief into something positive by taking part in a charity run to honour their courageous mum.
Wendy Coyle, from Kells, Co Meath, and a team of 22, including her siblings, nieces and family friends, will run the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) on June 2 - the day of her mum's 68th birthday.
Last year, the family spent months in a haze of disbelief and grief after saying goodbye to their aunt, their mum and their young sister, who all died from cancer in the space of a month.Goodbyes
Wendy's mum, Johann Allen Maguire, died after a five-year battle against breast and bone cancer last November, just 20 days after her beloved daughter Kim (34) died from an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer.
Johann bravely fought her illness to make it to Kim's wedding but was too unwell to attend her funeral.
Fortunately the mum and daughter had spent many special moments together saying their final goodbyes before they passed.
Now the family has decided to pay tribute to their courageous mum, who never gave up, by running their 'Marathon for Mum' as a thank-you to the IHF for all the help and support they received during Kim's and Johann's illnesses.
"Mum would be 68 on the same day as the Mini Marathon, so my sister Shauna suggested we take part in her memory and loads of family friends asked if they could join us on the day," said Wendy (40), who has been chosen as the Vhi Meath Ambassador for the event.
The family hopes to raise €10,000 for the foundation over the coming weeks through various fundraisers.
The family is also organising a memorial skydive for Kim to mark her birthday, which is also in June.
"Mam lived for her children and grandchildren and, in her honour, the family want to acknowledge everything she did for them by shining a light on her - our mum - while giving back to the community in her memory," said Wendy.
"During her illness, there was so many times we thought, this is it for her, but then she rallied back and that's the woman she was."
The Skryne native died on November 19 last year and was laid out the following day - on the first anniversary of the death of her best friend and husband John.
"Every second person has been affected by cancer but we wanted to do something positive because that's who Mam was," Wendy added.Devoted
"She devoted her life to others and was always there to lend a helping hand with a smile and an infectious sense of humour.
"My mother appreciated every day of her life and was always thankful of the little things."
The family also said goodbye to their aunt, who lost her battle with cancer just two weeks before Kim's death.
"The IHF provided help and support to our loved ones and to all of us," said Wendy.
"They give so much and play such a vital role in the lives of families affected by cancer.
"This is for them - the IHF - from everyone who has needed or will need them from us and ours."
Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so at: idonate.ie/event/2158_marathon-for-mum-in-aid-of-irish-hospice-foundation.html?userurl=marathonformum.