‘AN INSPIRATION to others’ is how 23 year old Lisa Meehan was described by her family, friends and those who knew her best.
The young Enniskillen woman had suffered from Cystic Fibrosis (CF) since she was just nine weeks old. But tragically, on Sunday, July 6, she lost her brave fight for life surrounded by her loving family at the City Hospital in Belfast.
Her family kindly spoke to the ‘Herald’ on Monday about the positive, strong minded girl who refused to let the illness get on top of her, or indeed get her down.
“She was full of life, full of courage”, her mother Georgina said of the daughter she said knew what this disease meant, and the eventual outcome it would have.
The Meehan family can’t speak highly enough of the staff at the City hospital, and how they cared for Lisa.
“She was in full control of everything – right up to the end. The medical team have been exceptional at the hospital. The unit acts like a family and they really put Lisa in the driving seat – every choice she made was the right one,” her mum said.
Asked how to best describe Lisa, her family all agreed ‘full of life, and full of courage’ summed her up perfectly.
“An inspiration to everyone – very strong in mind which kept her going as far as she could,” added Georgina.
Lisa had a great network of friends and was able to keep in touch with them through Facebook, even from her hospital bed. “I’m back,” she would frequently post after being ill.
She liked to get out and meet her friends when she was well enough, “and she was very particular about her nails,” Georgina recalls.
Lisa has a nine month old baby brother, Jake, and she loved nothing more than spending lots of time with him, and with brother Camhan, and step-dad Seamus McBrien.
Two years ago Lisa was assessed for a double lung transplant but discovered she wasn’t suitable for it because of an allergy
But her family say before she even was assessed she was ready for both outcomes – being able to get one, and not being eligible.
“‘I’m not going to let this get me down’ was Lisa’s attitude – she wanted to make the best of what she had left,” her mum said.
Mum Georgina said last year – 2013 – was the best year she ever had, only being admitted to hospital three times (some years it could be eight or more).
And she had been well this year up until 13 weeks ago, when she was admitted to hospital.
Having lived with CF her whole life Lisa did a lot of work for the disease, including raising awareness and fundraising
“It was very important for Lisa to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis – there is not enough known about it. CF is very hidden. One day she can be up the town and looking great, and the next she can be in a wheelchair on oxygen” said Georgina.
And Lisa’s fiance Aaron said, “she always put everyone else’s feelings before her own. Everyone else came first – she was a real lady.”
“Eight weeks ago Lisa was told she had three days to live – but there was still so much she wanted to do. Just three weeks ago Lisa and Aaron had a blessing in the hospital – something Lisa had really wanted to do. She also got her hair done, and saw the photos from her uncle Micky’s wedding on Saturday,” her mum added.
“She had fight in her, and a zest for life.. she always said ’never give up’,” he added.
She had a strong faith – “she can breathe now in heaven.. the first bit of fresh air into her lungs”.
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