By Rose Barrett
After battling cancer for over six years, the communities of Portrane and Donabate were deeply saddened by the death of Eoin O’Brien (37) last month. He leaves behind a young wife, Karen (32) and four daughters: Sophie (13), Abbie (12), Maddie (9) and Emelie (3).
The late Eoin lived with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and underwent a stem cell transplant from his sister Aisling. Despite hopes for a recovery, Eoin unfortunately got Covid and died after a few weeks on a ventilator at St James.
Eoin and Karen were shocked when their eldest girl, Sophie, was also diagnosed with the same form of cancer last summer. Karen is now Sophie’s full-time carer, as she was to Eoin during his long and brave battle with the disease.
Close family and friends have gotten together to organise fundraisers for Karen and the girls.
“Before his illness, Eoin worked in construction deliveries,” said family friend, Kaz Valentine. “He was an avid gardener and loved landscaping at the family home.
“He was amazing at soccer, and had been scouted by a UK team but had to turn it down due to an injury.”
Originally from Stamullen in Meath, he also lived in Tallaght for many years.
“He was extremely witty – sarcastic even,” said Kaz. “Even in the hardest times of his illness, he was trying to make people laugh and lighten the mood, he had a big circle of friends.”
“Together with his brother Con, they set up Stamullen Soccer Club – and it’s still thriving today (coincidentally Con and Eoin married sisters Karen and Tina).”
Following his death, Kaz, along with Karen’s close friends Lisa Duff, Tina O’Brien and Brian Hughes, set up some fundraisers for the young family.
“Since his passing, the response has been wonderful, the way Portrane community and Donabate have rallied to support our fundraising is heartening,” continued Kaz.
“We’ve had musical bingo on zoom – it was amazing, Daniel St Ledger was the bingo caller and music from the Caseys. Karen was overwhelmed with the response and support shown.
“She is only 32, it’s heart breaking for her, she has been supporting Eoin for six and a half years, only to lose him to Covid. Now she is nursing Sophie and the other little ones.
“Eoin had no life insurance, and with his long illness, they have no savings to draw on.
“We have now set up a GoFundMe page, and we hope to raise more on that. Eoin’s death is the fourth death in Karen’s family circle since August last, two from cancer and two from Covid.”
“They are such good-natured children, are Eoin’s girls. When Make A Wish asked Sophie what she would like, she said that she would like an attic conversion for her mam.
“We hope to put in a bathroom downstairs at the family home in Portrane, so as to make life easier for Sophie.”
Kaz thanked everyone who has donated to date, and reminded people that no matter how small an amount they can donate, it will be most appreciated.