After treatment he was in remission until January when he was told it had returned. He is currently half way through a session of chemotherapy treatment.
Recent statistics show three people per day in Donegal are diagnosed with a cancer.
Against this backdrop the HSE has demanded savings of €12million as part of swingeing cutbacks at Letterkenny General Hospital. Local support groups continue to call for the retention and protection of all key services at the hospital and also in Community Hospitals around the county.
Cllr Culbert has first hand experience of the Oncology Service and claims Letterkenny General Hospital gives “the finest care in Ireland and was one of the best in Europe.”
Commenting on reports from HSE CEO Cathal Magee about a scaling back in services, Cllr. Culbert said: “We can’t allow that to happen.”
“We should not just strive for what we have but also for more. We will not accept second best, or anything that is taken away from our hospital. We must support what we have,” he added.
Cllr Culbert, a native of Tipperary, said the quality of care in the Oncology Unit was ‘unbelievable’.
“The quality care provided in such a confined space is unbelievable. The care and dedication of the staff is second to none.
“Dr Francova was a brilliant consultant before she returned to the Czech Republic,” he said.
“A woman told me recently Letterkenny provided a far better service than a large hospital.
“Space is a problem. You have up to 12 patients at a time in a space no bigger than a large sitting room, with little privacy,” he said.
“It is testament to the professionalism and dedication of the staff they provide such quality care in difficult circumstances and at a time of cutbacks,” he added.
Cllr Culbert is a familiar face at the counter in the local post office but since his illness he has not worked since January. Nonethless, messages of good will have poured in.
“I’m overwhelmed by the kind messages of support in the post office from the staff and customers but also around the town,” he said.
“No matter how bad I am, there will always be somebody worse off than me,” he added.
A keen sports follower, Tadgh predicts Tipperary will win the All-Ireland Championship and St Eunan’s will regain the Dr Maguire Cup. As for Donegal, “I think its between us and Tyrone,” he said.