A DERRYGONNELLY man who is undergoing cancer treatment has urged males in Fermanagh to take proper care and pay attention to their physical and mental health.
Earlier this year, John Murphy, a well known GAA referee from the Derrygonnelly Harps club, was diagnosed with bowel cancer. The 39-year-old is currently undergoing six months of chemotherapy at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre, at the Belfast City Hospital.
The Fermanagh man has spoken out as part of the ‘Movember’ campaign, when men are encouraged to pay more attention to their health and wellbeing.
“From my own experience, I would definitely recommend getting checked out,” said John.
“There’s a stigma around men’s health, being macho or just deciding to leave it to another day.
“I had an inkling that something was wrong, but I kept putting it off. I thought it was nothing at first.”
The diagnosis was daunting and difficult for John, but the support of his family, friends and local community has helped him come to terms with his illness.
“It took a bit of getting used to and lots of questions, to say the least,” he recalled, “I couldn’t have got to were I am today without the support that everyone has given me.
“As they say a problem shared is a problem halved, and in my case I’ve a full community around me. To this day I’m seriously overwhelmed by everything everyone has done for me.”
John’s treatment is provided at the Belfast City Hospital and he admitted the challenge of travelling such a long distance was difficult.
“I suppose my only annoyance is that every time you go for an appointment or treatment, there is a large amount of people who you meet from our part of the country who are having to travel, when we have a perfectly good hospital on our doorstep,” said John.
“It is a nuisance as it does be very hard on the body, but again that’s taking nothing away from the care and support that I have received from the staff.”
The Derrygonelly man is very thankful for the medical help and support he has received.
“We all know the various issues that our health service is going through and it is a disgrace to be honest with you,” said John.
“From the beginning of my journey I’ve been very, very blessed to have received top quality care and treatment from the various doctors and nurses who are under extremely trying circumstances.”
The Derrygonnelly Harps GAA club recently held two fundraiser’s for their highly-regarded member, raising money for some local Fermanagh non-profit organisations.
John is ‘overwhelmed’ by all the support he has received from people in the county.
“The likes of MacMillan and the SWELL cancer charity have given me the tools to help cope with the different stresses that come with it,” he said.
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