Tina’s inspirational Errigal climb

AN INSPIATIONAL woman, who marked one year since the completion of her radiotherapy by climbing Errigal Mountain at the weekend, is on a mission to raise funds to help cancer patients on both sides of the border.

Tina Gallen, who is still recovering from her treatment, undertook the formidable challenge along with 12 of her friends.

Dedicating Sunday’s climb to her late brother Gerard Casey, Tina used the opportunity to raise much-needed funds for the North West Cancer Centre (NWCC) at Altnagelvin Area Hospital in Derry.


Speaking to the Donegal News after yesterday’s climb, she spoke of the centre’s importance for Donegal patients.

“Anyone who is unfortunate enough to require radiotherapy, from Donegal, would have gone to the North West Cancer Centre,” Tina said.

“Otherwise, their nearest centre is in Galway.

“There is that sort of cross-border cooperation where patients are going into the North West Cancer Centre which is why I was fundraising for both sides of the border.”

Availing of their extraordinary services herself, Tina used this opportunity to give back to the centre.

Tina lives in Strabane, and is very well known in Donegal, particularly in the Finn Valley area and in Letterkenny.

On July 7 last year, she celebrated a significant milestone by ringing the bell at the North West Cancer Centre, marking the end of her cancer treatment.


Tina’s journey has been marked by extraordinary resilience and determination.

In January of last year, she was diagnosed with tongue and neck lymph node cancer.

The aggressive nature of the disease necessitated a rigorous treatment regime, beginning with chemotherapy and followed by combined chemo-radiation therapy after doctors discovered the cancer had spread to her throat.

“Radiation to the mouth and throat is especially brutal, often necessitating the insertion of a food tube, by-passing both these areas, whilst ensuring that I received adequate hydration and nutrition,” said Tina.

“Due to severe side effects, I was unable to complete the conjunctive chemotherapy, but after a gruelling few months finally got to ‘ring the bell’ signifying the end of Radiotherapy on July 7.

“As it is a significant milestone in the cancer journey for any patient, I was joined that day by my husband John and my brother and sister Gerard and Bernardine.”

Exhausted by the journey, interventions and treatment to date, Tina was in an extremely weakened state and hoped for an uneventful recovery.

This, however, was not to be the case.

On August 10 of last year, Tina was contacted by the PSNI who imparted extremely bad news to her.

Her brother Gerard had been found lying in the street, having had a fatal heart attack while out walking their dog.

Tina Gallen pictured with her late brother Gerard Casey.

Earlier, during the course of her diagnosis and treatment, Tina had been singing the praises of the North West Cancer Centre staff and her brother Gerard had proposed the idea of doing some fundraising for the centre.

During yesterday’s climb, Tina managed to make it most of the way up the mountain before the wonderful team who accompanied her, completed the climb and scattered Gerard’s ashes at the summit on her behalf.

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