A young woman diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer, who battled to be given life-saving treatment, is to be buried on Wednesday.
So selfless was 26-year-old Alice Taylor, who was battling against Stage 3B terminal cancer which has spread to her heart, lungs and liver since a PET scan last May, that all she can do is worry about her boyfriend David and family and what they are going through in a bid to cope with her diagnoses.
Doctors told her several months ago that palliative care was the option facing her. Alice passed away at St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin last Friday.
The Kilkenny woman passed away surrounded by her parents Martin and Wendy, brothers James and William, her partner David in St Anne’s Ward in St Vincent’s Hospital. She is also mourned by two grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Her remains will be reposing at her home tomorrow (Tuesday) from 4pm concluding with Rosary and Vigil Prayers at 7pm. Removal will take place on Wednesday morning to St Brigid’s Church, Ballycallan, for Requiem Mass at 11am. Funeral afterwards to Mount Jerome Crematorium for private cremation.
Health advocate Vicky Phelan paid tribute to Alice, saying she was “floored” by the news of her death.
“Reading about Alice’s death has floored me. I had met her and her Mum, Wendy at St. Vincent’s Hospital where Alice moved for treatment to get on Pembro, which she had started. It was obviously too late for her. She was far too young to die,” Vicky wrote on Twitter.
Taking to rip.ie to express shock at her passing one person wrote, “Dear Wendy and family, Words cannot express how saddened we are at the news.
“You have all our sympathy at this unbearable time and know that we will help in any way we can in the coming months. May Alice Rest in Peace and I hope you find some measure of comfort in knowing how loved she was.”
Another offered condolences saying, “Wendy, we are absolutely gutted to hear that Alice has passed. RIP.
“There are literally no words to express our absolute and total sadness for you, Martin, James, William and Dave and family.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this incredibly sad and awful time.
“Alice was and will continue to be a shining light for all who were lucky enough to know her. Her legacy of love, care, compassion and putting others first will live on in the hearts and life’s of all who knew her.”
Never a person to give up without a fight, Alice wanted to raise €150,000 to enable her to receive the specialised treatment, via doctors in New York advising which immunotherapy drugs, would best suit her.
Friends and family of Alice had been campaigning over several months for her to get access to the drug Pembro and more than €100,000 had been donated to an online fundraiser. She had just started on the treatment last month.
However, it seems access to the drug did not come in time.
Alice, had hoped to take part in further genetic testing available in New York at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre which was to determine the most appropriate drugs and treatment for her condition.
From the village of Ballycallan, Alice was more used to caring for others, through her job at SOS Kilkenny, which provides day and residential services for adults with intellectual disability.
Speaking prior to her death Alice said: “It’s hard to explain how you feel when given a terminal diagnosis. I feel many different emotions. I am angry to think I may not be able to do and see a lot of things that I would like to do.
I’m sad that I may not be around to have our baby brought into the world. I’m worried about my family, Dave (boyfriend) and friends and how they are coping with this situation.
But at the same time, I am optimistic and feel very lucky to have had such a fantastic upbringing and a wonderful life up to now with such a huge amount.
Her cancer treatment began following her diagnosis in November 2017 after Alice attended her GP with irregular PV bleeding the month before. She was referred to St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny for further investigations and scans including a biopsy. Alice’s biopsy confirmed a 7cm tumour and Stage 2B Cervical Cancer.
Although shaken by the diagnosis, both Alice and David approached it like they do with everything, strong and positive with good humour as they prepared for battle together. All care was transferred immediately to Dublin’s Mater and St Luke’s Hospitals, in Dublin.
The couple first met at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) in 2012 when Alice was studying for a degree in social care. David O’Dea has remained by her side ever since.
Alice explained: “During my first appointment in Dublin, I received the news that I would never conceive or carry my own child. Gone was my lifelong dream of having beautiful little babies and becoming a mother. This news was as bad, if not worse than the diagnosis itself.”