Jack was born in the East End of London, and proud to be a Londoner. Um, moved back to Galway in 2006, and he went to school here in St. Mary’s. And, he actually really enjoyed school, he had, uh, Mary’s was great for sports, so he made a lot of good friends there. School reports, you know, he was, uh, very popular and, well liked, could work harder, that was the, the general consensus, and, followed him through.
Went to NUIG then for a year and doing arts, but he found his real, um, love then we went off to Leicester County to study sports and exercise. So it was his goal that he would be a PE teacher, um, when, you know, he was nearly finished. He was very involved in coaching the kids in the tennis club as well as part of his placement.
He was doing that actually just before lockdown.
So it was the start of lockdown. We were at home. My mom actually had a lung condition and she was quite ill, so she had been admitted to the hospital. And Jack had just been complaining of pain the day before. I thought, oh, he’s probably got a kidney stone, where he was complaining of the pain, and we gave him some painkillers.
And I kind of thought, oh, he’ll be grand, so don’t be worrying about him. Um, brought my mother in, she was quite sick and was admitted, um, to the ward. And so I was with her, and Molly was actually at home. And she was doing her exams online at the time. And she rang me, she said, Well, you know, I still hear Jack kind of moaning, his pain is really bad.
Um, I was like, God, I’d better do something. So I came home and said, Hi Jack, we’d better get you in, you need to get a scan. He was like, OK. And we were walking into the hospital. And the painkillers had probably kicked in a bit again and he was kind of laughing and messing and kind of jumping up at me and I was like, will you stop messing?
I said, if we’re going to the hospital here today, I think I’m crazy. I said, you know, even up like you’re in pain. And so we brought him in and he was admitted down to the ESU where he had a CT scan. And, yeah, and the results of that came back later on that evening. And, uh, we knew. Like, straight away, that he was in big trouble.
His dad and I came home to tell Molly the news that they found something very worrying on Jack’s scan and that, uh, there was a big long road ahead of us. We, we just have always got on so well. We had the kind of… Sentences sort of relationship. He was absolutely hilarious. But he was everything a big brother should be.
You know, he always had my back. He was like, my biggest supporter. And I was always his biggest supporter. And yeah, we were just amazing. We were really, really close. I was so blessed to have a brother like him. Jack [00:04:00] took the diagnosis on the chin. He was amazing. Um, actually Andre said that Jack went from being a boy to a man that day.
We were blown away by how brave he was. Um, I think a lot of that was for us and as time went on. I think that became more apparent that we were all kind of trying to protect each other. But he said, okay, whenever I have to do, I’ll do, I’ll go in and have my chemo, but I want to get, I don’t want to be in this hospital for any longer than I have to be.
He started chemo and the plan was to have chemo and surgery, um, but by the time he had the next scan, the tumours had grown and it was more bad news, so it was apparent that, uh, things were going in the wrong direction, [00:05:00] and that’s when There was talk about palliative care
As a nurse, I thought that I knew what the term palliative care meant. I thought, you know, it’s helping with pain and that’s it. So helping you die. you know, comfortably, which is a really important aspect. I had no idea about all the other aspects that were involved. The whole family support, you know, social work input, counselling, and pastoral care.
A huge aspect of the palliative care that we’re so grateful for was Jack’s pain and symptoms [00:06:00] were under control and for him to be able to live. As much of a normal life as he possibly could, it then meant the absolute world for us, because those days we had with Jack at that time were so precious, and we’re just so grateful, even still, to have had those days and for those to be made possible by the care that he received at home.
After Jack passed… I was offered a counselling service from the Galway Hospice, which I did get involved with. Um, I went for a number of months, um, every week or every two weeks I had a counselling session and that was, it really just got me through that horrific time. I, I don’t really know what I would have done without it, to be honest.
Um, there’s coping mechanisms that I’ve learned that I, Still use to this day. Came away from that service knowing that the door is still open anytime I want to go back there They’re just a phone [00:07:00] call away and they’re still really really supportive and to know that that’s there for you and to know that it Really does help is that’s all you could ask for and I’m so grateful to them for helping us get through The worst time of your life.