Minister's tribute to Hilary Ferris who died from rare brain cyst
Hundreds of mourners packed into Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church on Monday morning to say a final farewell to a "kind, caring and beautiful young woman".
Hilary Ferris died last Wednesday just three days after being diagnosed with a rare brain cyst. The retail manager from Newtownabbey would have celebrated her 24th birthday on September 18. She was rushed to hospital on Sunday, September 2, and underwent two emergency operations to drain a build-up of fluid caused by a chordoid glioma cyst that was putting pressure on her brain.
Despite doctors' best efforts, she passed away surrounded by her parents, Ivan and Heather, sister Erin (28) and boyfriend Gavin Carmichael (26), who had planned to propose this Christmas after four years together.
Those gathered in the church heard Rev Angus Stewart tell heartbroken family and friends how rather than attending her funeral, Hilary should have been planning for them to attend her wedding.
"Gavin and Hilary were planning a future together, all their plans were in place. We have to ask why are we at a funeral when there was a wedding to be planned? But when it comes to the big issues in life, the issues of life and death, we're forced to recognise we are not in control of our own lives. We are powerless," he said.
Mourners also heard how Hilary's kindness will now extend to saving the lives of others as Hilary had signed an organ donation register for all her organs as she felt so strongly about helping others in need - and over the next days and weeks up to 30 people could benefit.
"Hilary's death will allow other people to live through organ donation," Rev Stewart said.