Tickets are a steal.
A Cork musician is raffling off a beautiful guitar to help a friend in need, inviting music fans to donate €20 for a chance to take home the unique instrument.
Rob O’Shea of Cork band The Guilty Judges shared a picture of the Tanglewood guitar and case (donated by his father Tony, and worth around €1,000) to Instagram – hoping to drive donations to family friend Karen Walsh’s GoFundMe.
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While wedding dress shopping in 2019, Karen, a UCC graduate with a doctorate in clinical psychology, discovered a worrying lump in her breast and was soon diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer – an aggressive and notoriously difficult-to-treat disease.
Following her initial diagnosis, Karen began her fight and has since gone through eight rounds of IV chemotherapy, medically induced menopause, a lumpectomy, lymph node clearance surgery with breast reconstruction, and twenty sessions of radiotherapy.
On July 2nd, 2020, the Cork native was rushed to the hospital for emergency thoracic surgery, where 8cm of her lung was removed. She gives a harrowing account of the experience and describes being left at the hospital door by her husband Damian (who heartbreakingly, couldn’t go with her because of Covid restrictions) and having to face “the most frightening of operations” on her own.
In late September, Karen took a turn for the worst and another scan revealed a major pleural effusion – a fluid build-up in her lung cavity which was compressing her lung and making it difficult to breathe. A week later, after numerous failed attempts to drain the fluid, she was whisked into another emergency surgery, which Karen describes as the toughest operation yet. On her Gofundme page, Karen says:
“It’s a harrowing account now to see it written down but all I can say is how incredibly grateful I am to the surgeons, doctors, and nurses who cared for me during all of these operations and stays in the hospital. This was a time I was at my most vulnerable and scared. Healthcare staff held my hand when my husband couldn’t.”
Since then, the cancer has spread.
“Luckily, the last few years have seen a push and interest from some of the world’s most pioneering scientists in drug development for Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Trodelvy was one of these drugs, and the only one I have managed to be on for a sustained period of time. A new drug has now become available called ENHERTU.”
‘The cost of continuing this treatment is going to be enormous’
This new drug, however, is not yet available for patients on the NHS (Karen lives in London with her husband Damian, and dog, Murphy), but it is more than likely her best chance to control the cancer and therefore her need has become urgent. This is why her GoFundMe campaign is so crucial.
At present, ENHERTU comes in at approx £9000 a cycle (every three weeks) privately.
“If the initial cycles prove successful then the cost of continuing this treatment is going to be enormous and a real struggle for us to finance not to mention an additional major source of stress. All funds raised with this appeal will be used specifically for access to life-saving treatment.”
In the event that all of the funds are not used the residual will be donated to Bart’s Cancer Research which has been phenomenal in caring for Karen and is at the epicentre of cutting-edge research into rare cancers.
“In recent weeks Karen’s quality of life has deteriorated meaningfully,” said Rob.
“Pain is becoming more unmanageable and she has also suffered a very serious seizure resulting in more hospitalisation further delaying treatment.
“Tickets are €20 which is the price of four takeaway coffees these days. So please if you can, donate to enter.”
Use the GoFundMe link here and donate €20
Screenshot your donation and private message Rob on Instagram @roboshea_
A name will be chosen at random once 100 tickets are sold. The guitar can be shipped anywhere in Ireland.