A young woman who had life-saving surgery performed at Beaumont Hospital in January has pledged to raise funds for research to help doctors and other patients in similar situations.

Clare Kavanagh, from Wexford, was living a normal life in January 2023 when a persistent neck pain began to bother her.

“I was living my life as normal, working, planning the future, spending time with family and friends, and looking forward,” she said.

Read more: RTE Board told of Tubs payment issue in same week as he announced Late late exit

She says that in “what appeared to be a blink of an eye, everything changed” when she began experiencing health problems which she had at first attributed to a previous injury or sleeping a certain way.

“I was experiencing persistent neck pain for several months. I went to physiotherapy, and put it down to a previous injury or sleeping a certain way,” explained the woman.

Clare, when physio failed to resolve the issue, sought a referral for a MRI scan. We assumed that it was a recurrence of an old injury because nothing else had been on our radar.

She said, “The results of my MRI were shocking.”

“It showed that a large tumor was growing inside my spine cord. This tumour was at the top of my spinal cord, just below my cerebral stem. This is a rare type of tumor, located in a dangerous location for surgery or treatment.

The tumour was located in the “prime real estate” of the spine, and surgery was the only way to remove it. I would have ended up in a wheelchair and suffered further degenerative effects if this surgery had not been performed.

Clare, a young and fit woman, found it difficult to comprehend the life-altering scenarios and risks that doctors described in the event of a failed surgery.

Clare had been active and fit before doctors discovered the tumour on her back

“I was referred by Beaumont Hospital to the best neurosurgical team in the nation. This team was the only one that could handle the risks of the surgery. Clare explained that she was “my only hope”.

“Within five-weeks of my diagnosis, I underwent an arduous, 12-hour surgery that was highly precise. The outcome was nothing less than a miracle. “I attribute this miracle to the skills, dedication, and experience of my medical team, as well as the prayers of many!”

Clare’s team of Beaumont surgeons was able to remove the entire tumour. She still has a long recovery road ahead of her, but she achieved the result she wanted.

She said that due to the invasiveness of the surgery she had to relearn to walk and regain use of her arms and hands. The Wexford woman, however, is determined to not only rebuild herself but to raise money to help others.

“I promised before I went to hospital that if it could be removed by a miracle, I would do everything I could to raise money for the people who saved my life. My surgeon, Professor Bolger, asked that the money be donated to the Beaumont Neurosurgery Research and Development Fund.

“I will be organizing a fundraising concert once I am physically recovered, but I wanted to start the ball rolling by creating a GoFundMe account. This money will go towards the incredible work of this team and department who literally save lives every day. These funds are needed because we all know that the health care system is broken.

“I’ll never be in a position to repay them in full, but I can at least contribute in a small way to the amazing work that they do in Beaumont.”

Clare raised EUR6,000 in less than 24 hours. Donations came from all over. Clare thanked her family and friends, as well as all those who contributed to the fundraising. She told people to keep their eyes open for concert details coming in the new year.

Clare’s GoFundMe Page can be found HERE.