Belfast Telegraph

Dying mum embarks on aid mission to Gaza

By Shauna Corr

A terminally ill mother is on her way to Gaza with four lorry-loads of aid donated by people from across Northern Ireland.

Doctors have given Dorothy Gardner, known to friends as Dee, just one year to live.

The Cookstown woman was diagnosed with cancer in February 2011 and has since undergone a double mastectomy, had glands removed and undergone four courses of chemotherapy, as well as three weeks of radiotherapy. But despite all the treatment, she learned in January that her cancer was now at stage three and that she will die of the disease.

"I have hormone-feeding two cancer, and I'm at stage three," she said, "so what that basically means when you put it into layman's terms is it's a form of hormone cancer."

Dorothy, who believes her cancer is the result of hormone drugs both she and her partner took in 2009 so they could have a baby together, said it cannot be scientifically proven that was to blame.

But her then partner, who was also diagnosed with cancer while carrying their son, passed away just three months after he was born in July 2009.

"In 2011, in February, I was diagnosed with my hormone cancer [and] it went to my lymph nodes. I had my lymph nodes and glands removed, and a double mastectomy in the February and then treatment was working well, and then in July 2012 I decided to bring my son to Northern Ireland to make a new start," said Dorothy.

But instead of spending her final months convalescing, she said she would rather be doing something to help those worse off than herself and, at the same time, leave a legacy which her five-year-old son can be proud of.

"I have always been a humanitarian activist," the 46-year-old said.

"I am a woman with cancer, but from a personal point of view... I see myself in a First World country with my rights."

Speaking about the people of Palestine, the former suicide counsellor added: "If that was my child, and they were in this country and that was happening... we would do something. We wouldn't allow that to go on.

"It's purely humanitarian", she said.

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