Charity roller-boot along the Quay in memory of Derry mum

The loved ones of a Derry mum who passed away last year from Breast Cancer are asking people to ‘Get their skates on’ for Marie Curie in May.

Hayley Rodgers was just 34 when she passed away from Breast Cancer, around eight months after being diagnosed. She has two children, seven years old Holly and two years old Lily-Kate and her friends and family are doing everything they can to keep the memory if their mammy alive in the girls.

Hayley’s sister in law, Danni Ward, explained how, in a way, Hayley came up with the fundraising idea herself, “During the first lockdown, Hayley put a post on Facebook about buying a pair of roller-boots. So we all bought into it and got roller-boots for the craic and made a plan to go down on the Quay for a laugh. But then the boots came and no one could stand in them so we had to practice in the house first!

“We never got round to going out on them, though, because she took sick a few months after.

Hayley Rodgers with her partner PJ and their children Holly and Lily-Kate. PIcture by Claire Canning

“I always said I would want to do something in her memory and make it an annual event. We were thinking and thinking and then we remembered the roller boots so we agreed to do that for a laugh.

“Hayley got diagnosed in September 2020, she went to the doctors with a lump and they confirmed that it was triple negative Breast Cancer. She was very positive about it and decided she was going to beat it. She went through chemo and an operation and they were both done by February 2021. She got the all clear then by the end of February but they wanted to do radiotherapy as a precaution. God love her, she went through hell with that.

“She went back for check up scans and tests and it was confirmed that it had come back on the breast but it also spread everywhere else. That was the week before her 34th birthday.

“They told her she could have more chemo to prolong her life but that she would not be cured. That was her only option but she didn’t want to leave herself miserable for her two daughters. She was weighing up the options but in the end she didn’t even have time to decide because she passed away three weeks later on May 17th. It’ll be a year now in May.

'Get Your Skates On' for Marie Curie in memory of Derry mum Hayley Rodgers.

“It was so quick and it was just awful. She was so positive all the way through, her only fear was not being around for her girls. The younger one, Lily-Kate, was only one at the time and Holly was six. Hayley’s main concern was not being there for the girls but, other than that, she was really positive and strong throughout it all.

“Hayley decided to buy a pair of roller-boots at the age of 33, that tells you what type of person she was! She always just wanted to have some craic. If it was going to be fun, then Hayley was up for it. She was incredibly selfless, too, she was always thinking about others. Even through her chemo, in Christmas of 2020, she decided she was going to make Christmas hair bands for everyone. She would have to put posts up online to say she wasn’t feeling great so she had to take a day off from making them but she still did it. Even through all her treatment, she was documenting it for other people going through the same thing. She was telling people not to be scared, that you can have a beautiful wig if you do lose your hair. She was so positive right until the end.

“Hayley found out that she can cancer the day before Lily-Kate’s first birthday and I remember she kept asking me to take loads of pictures but I told her she had nothing to worry about. We just had no idea.

“Holly was six at the time so she was there through it all and she watched her mammy shave her head and become sick but the baby, she’s two now so she doesn’t really understand. She still misses her mammy but we want to give her something to remember her in a fun way, in the way she was.

Hayley Rodgers with her partner PJ and their children Holly and Lily-Kate

“Holly is always afraid that her wee sister won’t remember her mammy. She always asks us; ‘What if LK (Lily-Kate) thinks we only have a daddy?’ But we always tell her that we will remind her and we have pictures everywhere too.

“Wen Hayley got sick, her partner PJ, my brother, had to stop working. The generosity of people in this town was unbelievable. They did so much for PJ, Hayley and the girls and we always said, since she passed, that we would do something to give back. We are only getting round to it now because it happened so quickly and we’re still trying to come to terms with what happened. It was too hard until now. It’s still so difficult, some people crumble looking at a picture of Hayley or hearing her name and it’s so hard to get through. She told us that there were no tears allowed when she was on her death bed. She told us she would be grand and was trying to comfort us more than herself.

“The last thing I said to Hayley was that I would never let her memory go. I told her I would do whatever I had to so that she would be remembered, so I couldn’t let her first anniversary go past without doing something to raise money for a charity. 
“The Marie Curie nurses were with us and Hayley until the very end. If they weren’t there that morning, I don’t know how we would have coped. They could tell us exactly what was happening and comfort us through it all. So they are our choice for this first one, to give back to them for all they did. If Hayley was here, she would be doing that herself so we’ll do it for her.

“Everyone is welcome to join in along the Quay. Obviously, not everyone has to wear skates but we want to encourage everyone to take part; whether that be on a bike, scooter, walking, running, just be there to raise awareness and money for such a good cause. Some of us might end up on the ground but Hayley will love that if we do! She’ll be laughing away at us all up in Heaven.”

The ‘Get Your Skates On’ event will take place on May 22 along the Quay, with more information being confirmed closer to the time.

The family ask that people donate £10 to Marie Curie to take part in the charity event and donations can be made on the day or on