Trish McCormack

‘I want to send a message to all women that there can be life after cancer’

A BRAVE Kilcock woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time in a decade has raised €4,000 for Breast Cancer Ireland in memory of her sister who tragically passed away from the disease in 2006 at just 43. 

Trish McCormack received the devastating news in May that the cancer she was cleared of ten years ago had returned. Grandmother Trish (60) who underwent a double mastectomy earlier this year and is now in the middle of a gruelling treatment plan decided to organise ‘The Mahon Cup’, a canoe polo competition for women as a tribute to her sister Marion and a way to raise vital funds for charity. 

The determined sportswoman who co-founded the Kilcock Canoe Polo club in 1998 says the shock diagnosis was a huge blow.

“Being told the cancer was back was like being hit with a mallet across the head, I wasn't expecting it. I think I didn’t breath for a few weeks. I couldn’t believe I was here again. But it was the hand that I was dealt with and I had to go on. 

Trish Mc Cormack is an advocate  for breast cancer awareness 

“By organising this event, I wanted to send a message to all women out there touched by cancer that there can be life after cancer. I knew I could take it on with the amazing support of my family, friends and friends in the club.

“I wanted to develop female canoe polo in Ireland and I thought that hosting an event would be a good way to promote it and it grew legs from there. I wanted to do something special so I decided I would run a women’s competition and come try for paddles with proceeds going to Breast Cancer Ireland.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and with figures from Breast Cancer Ireland stating that one in nine women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime with 3,100 cases diagnosed annually, it's more important than ever to educate women on the disease,

“Organising the fundraiser has helped me get through this cancer recurrence. It has kept me busy. I’m hoping I can make all women old and young have a better awareness of breast cancer. A lot of women I talk to are avoiding getting checked and it's so important that they do.” 

Trish says that every day with chemotherapy treatment but the side effects can be difficult,

'The Mahon' was a celebration of female Canoe Polo

“I am coping, but I had an allergic reaction to the chemo so I am struggling a little. I will have to wait now and see what's next for me.
“I have four children and ten grandchildren, a beautiful family, lots of friends and plenty of support. I thought I had to do this alone but the fundraiser has made me realise this is not the case.

“When you first hear you have cancer, you think ‘am I going to die?'. Then you get through it somehow. My psychologist once said to me, some people barge through, some people crawl, others have to be pushed. But does it matter once you get through it.” 

The Kilcock grandmother has been an integral part of Kilcock Canoe Polo's success and it has become a big part of family life as she explains. 

“My sons wanted to take up a new sport and did a canoe course in the harbour in 1998,  I also did the course. We were hooked from that moment. I soon realised I was a better organiser than a player and so started my 21-year journey of developing the club and the sport. 

Trish co-founded Kilcock Canoe Polo Club 

“The European Championships were hosted in Kilcock in 2003 and my sister Marion was hugely involved in the running the Championships here in Kilcock before she died. Little was I to know I too would develop breast cancer in 2008. The club has been a great part of both of our lives so the event was very poignant.

“Living with cancer is tough but also makes you realise what's important in life according to Trish.

“If you let it get down on you, you won't be able to get back up. I don't sweat the small stuff anymore. 

“I focus on spending as much time as I can with my grandkids and hope that I will see them grow up.”