Derry man to take part in Foyle Hospice walk/run in memory of late brother

A Derry man has paid tribute to his late brother ahead of the Foyle Hospice Male Walk/Run which is set to take place this Sunday.
Jim and his brother NoelJim and his brother Noel
Jim and his brother Noel

Jim McGuinness has been participating in the annual event for the last 15 years but will be stepping out this year for a very special reason, in memory of his younger brother Noel who died at Foyle Hospice last December.

Jim said: “After having some symptoms Noel went to his GP and subsequently was referred to Altnagelvin Hospital to see a consultant.“After some further tests, Noel was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He had an operation and had to have a colostomy bag fitted.

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“Everything was going well, and Noel continued to work and was feeling pretty good. He then went to the hospital to get a reversal and after having a scan they discovered that he had a few cancerous tumours that would require treatment. Noel, his partner Theresa and all our family were obviously shocked after him doing so well.”

In 2007, Noel’s partner Aine died in Foyle Hospice at the age of 31 – little did he know he would be admitted as a patient himself 15 years later.

Jim said: “I had actually worked with Aine and that’s how my brother met her.”

According to Jim, his ‘strong-willed’ brother who was a very positive person and ‘always up for a laugh’, fought a hard battle right to the very end.

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“He tried to hold off as long as he could but eventually, he had to go into the Hospice,” Jim said. “He was only there a few days before he died - he just went downhill so rapidly.”

Noel had a very aggressive form of cancer and after a lot of chemotherapy, he died surrounded by his family on the 18th of December 2022.

“The Foyle Hospice nurses were amazing and were coming to the house to keep him as pain-free as possible,” said Jim.

Noel had an identical twin brother Liam and they were looking forward to celebrating their 50th Birthday this November. Noel was a popular and well-liked figure amongst the local community who worked at the Resource Centre in Carnhill delivering meals on wheels and taking elderly people to and from the centre. According to Jim, Noel loved his job which he had described as ‘the best job ever’.

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Jim continued: “He was very well thought of and that showed at his funeral when so many people came to pay their respects, it was unbelievable and so moving to see.”

With the Male Walk/Run fast approaching, Jim says that the walk is obviously more poignant this year as he is doing it in memory of Noel. The family have always been keen fundraisers for Foyle Hospice, including Jim’s father who keeps a collection box as a permanent fixture in his kitchen.

“There will be a few other men walking this year with me and I’m still trying to convince a few more to turn up,” added Jim. “Unfortunately, the male population do not support the Walk/Run compared to the ladies, so get yourself out of bed and down to Sainsbury's on Sunday morning at 11.30 am and support this brilliant cause.“We are really looking forward to it!”