Aura’s 5K For Karen 2022
Aura Letterkenny are calling on members and the public to run 5k on Tuesday 28th of June at 7:30pm, starting at Aura Letterkenny in support of Cancer treatment for former Aura team member Karen.
Karen is also the daughter of our membership advisor Louise McDermott who is a very recognisable and valued member of the Aura Letterkenny team.
Registration is €10 online and €12 at Reception of Aura Letterkenny. All proceeds go directly to cancer treatment for Karen.
To sign up, visit our registration page HERE
Karen’s Story in Her Own Words;
When I was a teenager, I told my mum “, I’m moving as far away as possible for college” but the home bird in me kept me tethered to letterkenny.
When it came to attending college, I went no further than 5 miles away from Loretto convent to the LYIT
In my leaving cert year, I heard of this new leisure centre opening in letterkenny.
I applied for a lifeguard position at Aura.
I was delighted when I landed the job and spent the next 4 years working as a lifeguard and then receptionist. When I heard they were hiring for another receptionist, I immediately thought of my mum and urged her to apply, the thought of working with my mum was so exciting and when she got the job, I was over the moon.
I was offered a job that was related to my degree and left Aura but being a bit of a gym bunny, Aura continued to be a big part of my life. Having only used the treadmill and rowing machine, my mum encouraged me to try the weights and I became hooked.
If you haven’t guessed by now, my mum is Louise McDermott, and a very recognizable face at Aura as she continues to work as membership advisor and daily fellow gym bunny
Colon cancer was not part of the plan when I moved to new york in 2018. Having both grown up in letterkenny, my husband and I set our sights on new york city, drawn by the seemingly unlimited opportunities.
I worked at a coffee shop, a restaurant, and a toy store before covid left both Jason and I without work. Unable to receive unemployment, we decided, maybe recklessly, to open a toy store and for a little while, we were living the dream.
I started to have extreme abdominal pain in may of 2020 and after multiple emergency room visits, I was finally referred at my persistent requests for a colonoscopy in October 2021.
A week before my scheduled colonoscopy, I booked flights to go home for christmas. This was a huge deal having not seen our families since December of 2019, this was the longest time I had not been home.
Unfortunately the colonoscopy could not be completed because of a tumor blocking my entire descending colon, a biopsy was taken and the following day, as I was closing the store, a phonemail from my doctor confirmed the worst.
Two weeks later I had a 7 hour surgery to remove the tumor along with a foot of my colon. Recovery was difficult but swift, I was back on my feet and ready for chemotherapy which I started mid November.
In december I was hospitalized yet again for a blood clot in my lung called a pulmonary embolism and pulmonary infarct where part of my lung was starved of oxygen for too long and died. My recovery from this hospitalization was a lot more difficult due to to length of time I was inpatient but by March I was fighting fit again and set myself the challenge of walking 100 miles in a month.
In April, a week after my final chemo infusion, I had a large bowel obstruction which took my body to the edge of what it could survive. I spent 11 days in hospital and since then I have been trying to build my strength up for the third time in 6 months.
I know my exercise routine is a far cry from what it used to be, but fitness had been the biggest part of my recovery. I still have runners envy when I am on my walks and see joggers wizzing by but I know I can get back there, one step at a time.
Me and my mum always share photos we take on our walks on our group chat and it makes me feel closer to home. The support both my husband and I have received from Ireland and specifically donegal since my cancer diagnosis has been unbelievable. After announcing the devastating news on instagram, we were inundated with messages of love and prayers.
The community I thought I had left when I immigrated, stretched out their arms across the Atlantic at the time when I most needed it. To say that this situation hasn’t made me consider moving back home would be a lie. I am more homesick than ever since being separated from my family for nearly three years but for now, while my cancer care team are here, I feel bound to this country and unfortunately their healthcare system for now.
To sign up, visit our registration page HERE