THE uncle of Bronagh Wilson, who has lost her courageous fight against cancer, has spoken of the family’s grief and paid tribute to his niece, calling her “a determined, brave young woman who fought against the odds to the end.”Speaking this week to the Andersonstown News, Aidan Crean described how Bronagh fought her battle with “fierce strength” and was determined to defy her devastating medical prognosis.
Aged just 21, Bronagh was diagnosed with an inoperable Grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumour, an aggressive and inoperable form of the disease that would eventually take her life.
Her story and her brave battle to stay alive for her husband and two young children have featured in the pages of the Andersonstown News.
“Bronagh’s tumour was detected in medical check-ups when she was pregnant with her second son Daniel,” explained Aidan. “The Bronagh Wilson Trust was established in September 2009 with the objective of raising funds for private medical treatment when her NHS treatment ended. The West Belfast community really rallied around the family, they organised, participated and donated in whatever way they could to the campaign and I know that Bronagh and her family were overwhelmed at the response.
“We received support for Bronagh from all over Ireland and together with the community’s support we were able to surpass the £50,000 target that was set through various fundraisers, walks and donations,” he said.
Aidan spoke of how “an army of angels” from Marie Curie and the NI Hospice looked after Bronagh in her final weeks.
“Bronagh was released from hospital a month ago and was looked after by an inspirational team of carers at her mother’s Riverdale Park East home. That army of angels lifted her, in fact they really lifted us all.
“They would have come in to look after her and crack jokes, talk about the latest boy band and tried to lift her spirits.
“She was extremely close to her immediate family, especially her brother Conor and sister Kristina, and I know how stubborn she was. She didn’t want to die, she wanted to live for her husband Conor and for their sons Conor and Daniel.
“She always wanted to know the honest hard truth about her condition and throughout her illness when she would cry, she would cry privately and keep strong. She always held herself together very well.
“In the Requiem Mass at St Matthias’ Church, Fr Brendan Hickland spoke of how she endured her condition with great humour, despite during the last six months losing her voice, being paralysed down her right side and not being able to get out of bed. But she still maintained her sense of humour with her family and carers.
“Her mum Loretta would say to me that it was just so unfair that Bronagh was so ill and I know we are all struggling to get our heads around her loss, but we have a very good support network and we are all supporting each other.
“When Bronagh passed she was surrounded by those who loved her, her mummy held one hand and her husband Conor held the other.
“It’s important that we thank the family, the extended family, and that army of women who cared for Bronagh in the last six weeks, and our priority now is the boys and Conor and the immediate family.
“On behalf of the entire Wilson family we would like to convey through the Andersonstown News a big heartfelt thank-you. It was the energy of this community that kept Bronagh going, without a doubt, and we are so thankful for all the help and support we received for Bronagh.”