Family's despair after 'fighter' Lauren killed by nosebleed that wouldn't stop
The heartbroken family of a young woman who collapsed and died on a night out with friends has spoken proudly of the girl who never let her illness get in her way.
Lauren Rodgers (26), from Kinsealy, in Fingal, Co Dublin, collapsed shortly after arriving in the Empire bar, in Swords, on Friday night.
She had been the first person in Ireland to be treated in a specialist hospital in Sweden for Job syndrome, a life-threatening immunity illness that affected her chest and skin.
Lauren had been suffering heavy nosebleeds for a number of weeks and even underwent surgery in Beaumont Hospital just before Christmas.
"There were times they weren't too bad and she could manage them," her mother Edith told the Herald.
"But then there were times she would get us to call an ambulance because she would be coughing up so much blood and she wouldn't be able to breathe.
"The type of bleeds she would get would run down the back of her throat and she could lose a lot of blood."
While having a drink on Friday night with her friend Catherine, who was due to fly to Australia yesterday, Lauren suffered another nosebleed.
"I dropped her at the Empire around 10pm. Lauren wouldn't go out often but she would go out every now and again," Edith told the Herald.
"She wasn't there long when it happened. She was on her first drink.
"She went to the toilet with her friend to try and control it but it wouldn't stop.
"Catherine then rang me to tell me. Someone called an ambulance, but it was too much of a bleed for Lauren."
Paramedics worked on Lauren for nearly an hour, but she could not be saved.
Speaking at their home in Melrose Park mum Edith, and Lauren's sister Amanda, told of how she lived her life to the full despite the illness that was diagnosed when she was two.
"She never let it stand in her way. She never let it stop her do anything," said Edith.
"Even when she was going for jobs, she wouldn't mention it because she wanted to achieve everything on merit and not with a sympathy vote."
When Lauren was in her early teens, she was flown to Sweden for specialist treatment called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), the first person with Job syndrome in Ireland to do so.
"She also spent time in a hospital in Newcastle," said Edith.
The Rodgers family wanted to specifically thank their GP Jim Keely for all he did for Lauren.
All around the house are Lauren's pets - numerous dogs, a cat and a large aquarium.
"She adored animals and was forever taking in strays," Edith said.
"Her father, who died in 2009, even insulated the shed so she could have snakes and water dragons and all sorts of animals. She even featured on the RTE programme Consuming Passions in 2008 with her pets."
One of Lauren's dogs, Malibu, also died on Friday. "We don't know why he died. It's just such a coincidence," said Edith.
Only last month, Lauren joined Edith and Amanda as a community centre in Kinsealy was dedicated to her father, Liam, because he had campaigned for its opening for so long.
"She was the apple of her daddy's eye. She was like his apprentice. Amanda was always the girly girl, but Lauren was more of a tomboy. She was the one we went to when phones, and computers and remote controls were acting up," said Edith.
"There is some comfort in the thought that she will be side-by-side with her daddy again.
"We were only thinking of all the mischief they would be up to," she added with a warm smile.
"Despite being sick, Lauren always made you laugh, was always up for something and always up for banter. She had a great sense of humour," said Amanda.
Edith added: "She was an angel sent to us. She was always positive and never gave out.
"In the last few years, she was really taking control of her illness and its treatment, and how to use her medication.
"Even though she had a life-threatening illness, I was sure she would outlive me. That's how strong and determined she was.
"I didn't think I'd be burying my daughter. It's wrong to have to do that."
Amanda said that she is comforted by the fact that Lauren did not die alone.
"She was out with her friends, and in the end surrounded by those that loved her," she said.
"I think it is the way she would have wanted to go."
The Empire's manager James Bernes was on duty the night that Lauren died and passed on his condolences.
"She was a lovely girl. I knew her because she would be in here fairly regularly," he said.
"It's an awful tragedy and we certainly want to send our condolences to her family and her friends."
Lauren went to Sylvester's school and St Paul's school in Malahide, before attending Portmarnock Community School. She worked in the Supreme Clean dry cleaners in the Pavillions Shopping Centre in Swords.
"She loved her job there. It was like a second family to her. She always had a smile on her face," Edith said.
Co-owner of Supreme Clean, Angela Kenny, said Lauren was a "joy" to have in the shop.
"She was a lovely, warm-hearted girl. Lauren was patient and friendly, especially with the older customers," she said.
"She would come in before her time and got on great with us all here too. She was just a lovely, lovely person with a great sense of humour.
"She did the same work as everyone else and never wanted special treatment because of her illness," she added.
Lauren will be laid to rest in Fingal Cemetery following her funeral at St Colmcille's Church, Swords, tomorrow morning.