Photo of Sinead Keely, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor

The Real Cost of Cancer: Sinead's story

It took Sinead and her family 10 years to recover financially from her cancer diagnosis which saw her with a credit card bill running up to €12,000.

Sinead was 34, two years married and just after becoming a mum for the first time when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in October 2009. While she was on maternity leave she only got statutory pay.

She went on sick leave from work the following March and got full pay for three months, half pay for three months, and was on illness benefit for a further three months so her loss of earnings was over €18,000.
She didn’t qualify for a medical card initially, and only got it for a year when she was on sick pay. She didn’t have any mortgage protection insurance on her house insurance so she had to keep up with her mortgage repayments.
Sinead said before her diagnosis and her husband and her new baby were in a good place, both had good jobs, were getting on with life, when her cancer hit. It changed their lives forever, Sinead and her family faced huge additional costs while she was going through treatment.

She still had to send her son to crèche and pay out €750 a month, because she was too sick to mind him and was in hospital every two weeks. Knowing how hard it is to get childcare, she was also conscious of losing her place in the crèche and not being able to find anything else.
When she was in the hospital, she had to pay for parking and food which all added up and the bills kept coming in while she was sick. She had medication costs, massive visa card bills, heating costs and parking costs all to cover while she was off work. 
She was able to go back to work in January 2011 and is doing well now. She is married to Garrett and has two children, Sam and Hannah, aged 10 and 7.

She lives in constant fear of her cancer returning because she has no idea how she would cope financially. She feels there is no financial support for people who are diagnosed with cancer.

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