Friends rally to help cancer victim

Lilia Lalaoui reports on fundraising to help cancer treatment.

In September last year, Jocelyn Blake was diagnosed with stage 4 of a rare ovarian cancer. Because she needed to have a very expensive treatment, her friends and relatives decided to organise a series of fundraising events, one of which occurred in November.

Ms Blake had undergone three operations when she was diagnosed with stage 4 of the rare ovarian cancer. “Mairéad McWellness, an Irish lady diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, gave the advice to Jocelyn to go to Istanbul to be treated,” said Aoife McElwain, a writer and event planner, but above all a very close friend of Jocelyn Blake for 15 years.

“That’s why she decided to start a treatment in the Chemo-Thermia Oncology Center in Istanbul in October. She went with her scan, got in touch and has been accepted to start the treatment. This is a complementary one, in addition to the chemotherapy, composed of oxygen, which works better with the chemotherapy,” Ms McElwain explained.

This treatment is very expensive and, in addition, Ms Blake is also going back and forth from Dublin to the Turkish capital in order to take care of her daughter and not make all this too disturbing for her. Since she responded positively, “we knew that she would need funds immediately”, said Aoife McElwain.

“We knew that she would need funds immediately”

Jocelyn Blake had 20 days of treatment when Aoife McElwain, Aoife Hammond and 30 other very close volunteer friends decided to organise a fundraiser for their friend, after having organised online fundraising, a craft fundraiser and a coffee morning fair. 

“It’s difficult to have an ill friend, so I’m helping her personally in some way. It’s good to feel that you’re helping, in any way you can,” said Ms McElwain.

The November fundraising event took place at the Dublin Food Co-Op Market, where Jocelyn Blake was a staff and community member. For the occasion, a few of her favourite Irish acts were playing: Farah Elle, Interskalactic, Lisa O’Neill, Sorca McGrath from Ships and the Lumo DJs. On top of that, drinks were sold and a raffle was organised. Tickets at €15 were sold for the event and donations were also welcomed. All the proceeds went to the Jocelyn Blake Cancer Fund.

Aoife McElwain put her event-planner skills to good use for her dear friend. “We knew it would be something we could pull off and do well. Jocelyn loves music and was very happy to see all her friends.” It was not difficult for Ms Blake’s friends to organise this event with all the help they had.

“We were happy people who weren’t friends came. It was not a private event, even if her friends were also there.”

As Jocelyn Blake’s treatment is still on going and will continue through 2018, other fundraising events will be held to support her fight against cancer.

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