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'Inspirational' GP Sarah McAnallen is laid to rest after losing breast cancer battle

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 10/12/2015

Funeral: Sarah McAnallen, who fought cancer for two years
Funeral: Sarah McAnallen, who fought cancer for two years

Mourners have attended the funeral of an "inspirational" family doctor who died two years after being diagnosed with cancer.

Sarah McAnallen, from Portadown, Co Armagh, passed away on Sunday after battling breast cancer since 2013.

Mourners at the Requiem Mass held at the Church of St John the Baptist in Drumcree included her parents, Gerard and Cora McAnallen, also doctors.

The service heard Dr McAnallen, who has two sisters, Orla and Susan, described as "brave". Afterwards, she was buried in the adjoining cemetery.

Two years ago, six weeks after graduating from her training scheme, Dr McAnallen, who studied in Dublin, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer aged 31. She underwent intensive treatment, including chemotherapy and a mastectomy, but lost her battle with the disease.

She wrote about her experience, with one article featured in Forum, the journal of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) and irishhealth.com.

Her death has led to an outpouring of tributes.

The ICGP praised her as an "inspiring" doctor and described her article as "influential" and as having touched many hearts.

More than £1,300 has been raised for the Friends of the Cancer Centre in her memory, just days after the Just Giving appeal was set up.

People who donated to the fund left touching tributes.

Brian O'Shaughnessy wrote: "In memory of Sarah. We were all lucky to have known you.

"Our thoughts are with your family at this difficult time. May you rest in peace."

Another from Sinead, Beirne and James Behan added: "I'm saddened to learn of Sarah's passing. What a beautiful person inside and out. A truly special person. I feel privileged to have crossed paths with Sarah. You will never be forgotten, angel."

And Richard Downey and Dorene Mallon wrote: "Sarah was an inspirational woman. So beautiful, a class act."

Another from Sally, Vincent and family read: "In Sarah's words, 'When life crises strike, the human spirit can expand to cope with much more than you ever imagined'.

And Aveen and Hugh O'Connor described Sarah as having had, "The voice of an angel and a smile that could light up any night sky".

If you would like to donate to the Friends of the Cancer Centre, visit https://www.justgiving.com/sarahmcanallen/

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