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Woman who lost battle with cystic fibrosis had a heart the size of Derry, says mother

By Donna Deeney

Published 05/05/2016

Bronagh McMenamin, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 24 after losing her battle with cystic fibrosis
Bronagh McMenamin, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 24 after losing her battle with cystic fibrosis

A popular young woman who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis was described as "like a light shining in the world" by her mother.

Bronagh McMenamin (24) from Londonderry passed away on Tuesday from complications she contracted from her condition just a few weeks ago.

A minute's silence was held before last night's match between Derry City Ladies Football Club and Linfield in Belfast in respect for Bronagh who was a former player for the Candystripes.

Her mother Margaret said Bronagh fought to stay with them right to the end, which was the way she had lived her entire life.

As the family prepared to say their final farewells to Bronagh, Mrs McMenamin said her daughter's thirst for life and determination not to be defined by her illness will never be forgotten.

She said: "We knew this day would come because that's the nature of cystic fibrosis. However, we could not have imagined the pain but we will get through it together.

"In this house, we are a team - my husband William, my son Aaron and Bronagh. Nothing got in the way of that.

"We talked about everything including cystic fibrosis - my son has cystic fibrosis as well and whatever happened outside of our house wasn't important to us, so we will get through this together.

"Bronagh was incredible, she was so full of life, you never met a girl that loved the craic and having a good time with her friends more than her. She had a heart the size of Derry and as long as everyone else was happy then she was happy too.

"Cystic fibrosis couldn't hold her back, she was like a light shining in the world and everybody loved her.

"I know every mother thinks their daughter is beautiful but Bronagh really was stunningly beautiful and she loved to look her best.

"She was very particular about her make-up and her hair and what she wore.

"Even her uniform going to work would be ironed to perfection.

"These past weeks since Bronagh has been so unwell have been incredibly painful in a way you couldn't imagine. We have lost so much."

The huge number of tributes paid to Bronagh reflect just how popular and loved she was.

Hayley Derry said Bronagh had the ability to entertain wherever she was.

She said: "When Bronagh came into the shop where I worked as a student you knew it because she had everybody laughing within moments.

"She really loved the craic and lit the entire place up."

Waterside priest Fr Christopher Ferguson CC who attended to Bronagh during her final weeks said her personality endeared her to everyone who met her. He added: "Every time I visited Bronagh she was always the same even when she wasn't doing so good at all healthwise.

"She really was great craic, she was just one of those people who leave a big impression.

"She had such a sparky, strong personality and there was certainly nothing false about Bronagh."

On its website, Derry City FC passed its condolences to the McMenamin family, saying: "Bronagh played for the Candystripes for several years and her determination and strength in her battle with illness is an inspiration to us all at the club.

"May she rest in peace."

Another tribute was paid by Dearbhla Sarah-Marie Donnelly on Facebook.

She said: "Losing someone so special to us especially at 24 years old definitely (puts) life into perspective.

"We complain about the most silliest things and how bad things might be for us. Then you look at how my friend Bronagh gained her wings in heaven. Words can never describe how heartbroken I am. I suppose God's way isn't our way really.

"You were an inspiration to everyone and anyone who knew you Princess, you fought CF hard to the end, you're such a beautiful person. I will miss you lots, you really were one in a million. Sleep tight my girl."

Bronagh's remains will be removed from her home in the Waterside tomorrow morning for Requiem Mass at the Immaculate Conception Church, Trench Road at 10am.

She will be buried at St Mary's Cemetery Ardmore.

Belfast Telegraph

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