Young mum Maria O’Neill was confirmed to have advanced triple-negative breast in July, with the news rocking her tight-knit family.
As reported by Glasgow Live, the 28-year-old from Coatbridge faces eight rounds of chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiotherapy which will leave her unable to work in her usual role as a full-time nurse at Monklands Hospital.
However, she has been unable to to secure critical illness cover – which would provide a massive financial help following her life-changing diagnosis – due to her having had type 1 diabetes most of her life.
Five weeks after Maria’s heartbreaking discovery, the Lanarkshire family was left reeling yet again when her mum Maggie Wallace was told she has stage three ovarian cancer.
Maggie, who has worked as a team leader in the NHS for the last 26 years, has also been forced to take time off work due to her illness.
The 55-year-old has been described as Maria’s ‘biggest supporter and best friend’ and a doting gran to Mila – Maria’s daughter.
Writing on social media, Maria said: “Terrified is an understatement as to how I’m feeling and I often wonder what I have done to deserve this awful card I’ve been dealt.
“But it is what it is and now is the time to get up and fight, and kick this cancer’s butt, so I can be here to see my beautiful baby grow up.
“It’s undoubtedly going to be a long and difficult road, but I am so blessed to have the absolute best family, boyfriend, friends, and medical team around me, and I can’t thank everyone enough for their unconditional love and support so far.
“It means the world and more to me, and everyone’s visits, cards, gifts, and generosity will never be forgotten.
“I’m such a positive person, and will continue to be throughout this rubbish journey, especially with my beautiful Mila by my side every step of the way.”
Family friend Joe Weatherall has launched a fundraiser to help the family in their time of need and give them financial security as they undergo treatment.
He explains: “They are both in for the biggest fights of their lives, and no doubt there will be many ups and downs, but they are both so positive and upbeat and I believe this will help them through.
“They are both very kind-hearted people who would do anything for anyone, and are both very independent and strong-willed, and don’t like to accept help.
“Many of their family and friends feel very helpless during this difficult time, and for that reason, I have created this page to raise some money for our “3 M’s”.
“They are going through a hard enough time, fighting for their lives to be here to see the beautiful Mila grow up, so to take away some of that financial burden from them, would mean the world.”
Maria added: “Cancerland is a very scary place to be, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. There are so many what if’s and uncertainty, and none of us know what the future holds.
“Money means absolutely nothing when you don’t have your health, but to have that financial burden lifted and worry eased thanks to everyone’s generosity, honestly takes a huge weight off of our shoulders, and will allow us to put all our strength and everything else we have into winning the biggest fight of our lives.
“Cancer you’ve picked the wrong family to mess with!”
Marie and Maggie’s loved ones will be taking part in a sponsored walk from outside Maria’s estate to Celtic Park and back again, roughly around 18 miles, to raise money to help the family, with a charity football match also planned.
The fundraiser adds: “We know that we are currently still in the pandemic and are 100 per cent appreciative that many people out there are having tough times themselves so we don’t have any high exceptions from this.
“So anything anyone can spare, even £1 would go a long way!
“We are also eternally grateful for any donations and if we could possibly thank every single person individually we would.”
To donate to the fundraiser, click here.