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So the damn cancer has taken another good man. I know just how deep and widespread the sadness is within the Aer Rianta International (ARI) camp worldwide this week after news came through of Duncan Lawley’s passing.
Duncan was diagnosed last year. For a while the prognosis seemed to offer hope but in recent months the disease gradually overwhelmed him. He is out of suffering now, at least some solace for his wife Helle, and his children Alexandria, Rosie, Esther and Oscar.
I am sad too. Duncan and I shared a common mentor in our respective battles with cancer, ARI veteran Maurice (‘Mossy’) Burke, himself a survivor. Just as Maurice had encouraged me to beat the disease back in 2010 and 2011, so he urged me to support Duncan. From my experience, hearing from a survivor is very important. They know what you are going through, physically and mentally. And their continued existence makes you feel the fight is winnable, the mountain scalable.
We talked a lot towards the end of 2015 and Duncan was as upbeat as one could be, while no doubt very scared and deeply vulnerable. I knew from his many friends in ARI that the silence of recent months spelled bad news.
And so it was. Duncan gave it his best but ultimately some fights are not winnable, some mountains cannot be climbed. In this war that seldom makes the news, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.
Footnote: Cancer can and will be eradicated one day through the power of research. Enormous strides have been made in recent years and breakthrough advances are happening with encouraging speed in the struggle against a whole range of cancers. Funding is essential to maintain that progress. Here are two world-leading research centres if you would like to make a donation in Duncan’s memory.