Belfast Telegraph

Novelist dies from a brain tumour a year after debut published

By Joanne Sweeney

A young writer whose debut novel had cancer as a theme has died from the disease at the age of 32.

Patrick Finlay had recovered from a major operation last year to remove a brain tumour.

Having been well enough to return to work earlier this year for several months, his health later deteriorated, and he died on Monday.

The Co Antrim man was a well-known and highly respected public relations professional whose novel To Seek Redemption was published under the name PD Finlay last year.

The book is described as "a suspense-packed thriller with surprising twists along the way and set against the backdrop of racism in the US in the 1960s. To Seek Redemption takes readers on an emotional, spiritual, romantic and at times violent journey".

Mr Finlay had previously spoken to the media of how during the five years he had been working on his novel, he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in April 2013.

He had been experiencing bouts of nausea, dizziness, headaches and occasional lapses of memory.

Despite undergoing follow-up cancer treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, doctors discovered that the tumour had grown back in the spring of this year.

Mr Finlay bravely vowed to beat the disease and underwent further treatment.

But he died at home in Kells, Co Antrim.

Mr Finlay had lived in Belfast for some time before returning to Kells with his wife Ashley.

An American, she moved to Northern Ireland when the couple married nearly two years ago.

He paid a loving tribute to his wife and family for their support during his illness in an interview he gave to Fame magazine last year.

He said: "I was very lucky to have such a support network including my aunts, uncles and wider family and friends.

"I cannot thank them all enough for everything they did. In particular, my wife Ashley.

"I simply would not be here without her love and support."

He added: "Any time I even thought about feeling down I could turn to her for inspiration.

"Our relationship is all the stronger having been put through this challenge."

Mr Finlay was a law graduate from Queen's University Belfast and had also gained a Masters in Communications from the University of Ulster.

He had previously worked for the Strategic Investment Board and Stranmillis University College.

He then went to work for eight years with Belfast-based Aiken PR.

He loved music, particularly the work of Bob Dylan, football and enjoyed socialising with family and friends.

Yesterday, managing director Claire Aiken paid a moving tribute to her young colleague.

She said: "Patrick was a greatly loved and loving colleague.

"He made a profound impact: his integrity, his humour, love for his job and above all, decency, struck a chord. Those of us who worked with him every day are heartbroken."

Mr Finlay is survived by his wife Ashley, his parents, brother Simon and his sister-in-law Claire and his sisters Rachael, Emma Jane and Amy.

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