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Tributes for blogger Sabrina Ryan who gave fashion tips to cancer sufferers after she loses her own battle

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 28/04/2015

Sabrina on her wedding day
Sabrina on her wedding day
Sabrina with her husband Paul
Sabrina Ryan, a non-smoker, died from lung cancer
Sabrina Ryan

An inspirational woman from Northern Ireland who lost her battle with a rare form of lung cancer has been praised as being the "definition of strength, courage, inner beauty and dignity".

Sabrina Ryan (32), a non smoker, who was originally from Armagh but lived in Dublin, was diagnosed in 2011 but continued to fight the disease and had undergone chemotherapy. She was determined to help others going through the same battle and created a fashion and lifestyle website called So She Knows.

On the popular site she wrote a blog and provided tips and advice for cancer sufferers about how to cope with situations like losing hair and eyebrows.

Through social media, her family said that their "princess fell asleep" on Saturday night with the news of her passing sparking an outpouring of tributes. She was just 28 when tests confirmed that she had a non-small cell signet ring cancer.

The first indication that something was wrong was when she began getting pains in her shoulder which she thought was an injury from playing tag rugby. But she then developed flu-like symptoms and, despite taking two different antibiotics, had a persistent cough and felt tired.

After diagnosis Sabrina, who has a twin sister Donna, had two different types of chemotherapy over nine months. She also took part in a clinical trial to use experimental drugs to fight the disease.

It involved taking three different tablets, twice a day. Her health improved enough for her to return back to working twice a week as an assistant fashion buyer for Dunnes Stores.

She also worked with the Irish Cancer Society on Daffodil Day - the biggest and longest running fundraising day in the charity's calendar - in the run up to her wedding in August 2011 when she married cyber security analyst Paul Ryan.

As her health declined in recent weeks, her family posted photographs of her wedding day with her friends and followers.

Among the many emotional tributes posted on the Facebook site included one from Michelle Campbell who wrote: "RIP Sabrina you have changed my outlook on life, such beautiful soul. Honestly such inspiration to us all, such strength and determination - loved your blog thinking of your family at this heart-breaking time praying for use (sic) all xxx".

Another from Barbara Doran said: "Sabrina was an inspiration to all who knew her she fought her fight with strength and courage and never gave up."

And Jean Oshea wrote: "So sad to hear. You battled so hard Sabrina.

"You will always be remembered, never forgotten."

At the start of April her family posted this touching tribute: "Sabrina is the definition of strength, courage, inner beauty and dignity.

"She always laughed without fear of the future entertaining us along the way. As she nears the end of her battle she had a wish to thank her followers for the support through the tough times. If she taught us one thing it was to always be positive and smiling in difficult times.

"We love you."


Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK (2011), accounting for 13% of all new cases. For men in Northern Ireland, the most common cancers are prostate (23.7%), followed by colorectal (15.2%) and then lung cancer (14.7%). For women they are breast cancer (29.1%) followed by colorectal (12.4%) and lung (10.6%). A study by Cancer Research UK also predicted that one in every two people will develop the disease.

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