Climbing Mountains With Mum

My Mum’s mother died of cancer when my Mum was 18, so when I was a little girl, I used to think my Mum would die when I reached the same age. It wasn’t a serious concern, just one of those little ideas you have at the back of your mind when you’re a kid. (NB: This is coming from the child who used to spend all day making magazines and used to write in the horoscopes section, under the ‘Cancer’ starsign ‘You will get cancer and die’. Double NB: I am a Leo. Mum is a Virgo. I guess I got my karma.) As soon as I turned 19, I stopped worrying that my Mum would die. And here we are, 11 years later, me a cancer survivor and Mum happy and healthy as ever.

Today is my Mum’s birthday. A very special birthday, though she won’t appreciate me publishing her age in a public forum, so let’s just say she’s 21 (again). So today’s blog post is dedicated to my amazing Mum. And if you’re lucky enough to have an incredible mother in your life, then don’t forget to tell her so!

Two and a half months ago, that fateful Friday afternoon when I found I had breast cancer, Mum wanted to fly to Dublin to be with me immediately. I made her wait until the Monday and told her I was planning on doing the usual hardcore fitness class on the roof of my office that I did on Monday evenings and did she want to join? She did, of course, and not only did she come straight from Dublin airport, don her sportswear and get up there and join that class, she practically put all the young whippersnappers to shame with her bags of energy!

Along with my Dad, Mum has been my absolute rock throughout this whole ordeal and I credit the pair of them for the way I have coped. Mum attends every hospital appointment with me, makes me fresh soup with cancer-fighting ingredients, sorts out all the tricky insurance claims, gets up early to administer the right drugs when I’m sick, and even hoovers the cat hair off my bed so Nurse Molly can do her duties without making me more poorly.

In 2004, Mum and I decided to trek the Inca Trail in Peru together to raise money for The Laura Crane Trust, a local charity supporting young people with cancer. Among the craziest things we’ve done together to date, we decided to pose in matching hotpants, hiking boots and Laura Crane vests for an article in the local newspaper, much to the astonishment of my friends. I am not sure whose idea this was, but I am assuming it’s safe to blame my Mum.

(Please ignore all the glaring inaccuracies in this article – we do not claim responsibility for it!)

During that trip to Peru, which coincided with my 22nd birthday, we did both manage to successfully reach Machu Picchu after hiking for three days with a guide we nicknamed the Mountain Goat because she mostly completely ignored us and marched off at her own pace while we huffed and puffed our way up the cliff a few hundred metres behind. I managed to get both tonsillitis and altitude sickness during the trip though, and Mum had to make the journey to the floating islands of Lake Titicaca on her tod. We ended up having a McDonalds for my 22nd birthday dinner because I literally couldn’t stomach anything else.

This last photo was taken the moment we reached the top of the Inca trail and it’s one we’ll always remember. We’ve been through some tough times over the years but, if you’ll excuse the cheesy line, we reached the top of that mountain eight years ago and we’ll sure as hell climb this next one!

Happy birthday to the best Mum in the world. I love you millions. xx


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