Derry woman walking 30km in memory of 'amazing' mum

Caroline McGrotty is walking 30km a day in memory of her mum, who died from pancreatic cancer earlier this year.
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Caroline’s mum Kathleen McGrotty was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just nine months before her death in June. Caroline is hoping that the walk will raise vital funds for research to save lives in the future.

Caroline said: “I started getting ads for the walk for pancreatic cancer research on my facebook newsfeed and I don’t know what possessed me – I do not like exercise at all – but in the spur of the moment, I just signed up for it. I started a bit late because I was sick at the start of the month but myself and one of my closest friends Brienna walked a few miles around St Columb’s Park. I’m just taking it easy on the walks and thinking about my mammy.

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"Not a lot of people know about pancreatic cancer and there’s not much known about it in general. They call it the ‘silent killer’ because by the time a lot of people are diagnosed with it, it’s too late. Mammy was diagnosed fairly early but, unfortunately, where her cancer was, there was nothing that could be done for her. In a way, we were lucky because we got nine months with mammy after her diagnosis where some people only get weeks.

Caroline McGrotty who is walking 30km in November in memory of her mum Kathleen (right).Caroline McGrotty who is walking 30km in November in memory of her mum Kathleen (right).
Caroline McGrotty who is walking 30km in November in memory of her mum Kathleen (right).

“The symptoms we first noticed in mammy was that she had started losing weight and didn’t have much of an appetite. Eventually, she went to the doctor who sent her for an ultrasound on her stomach and they saw a wee spot on the pancreas. We can’t fault the nurses in the hospital and the community nurses from the health centre. They were all fantastic as well as the Foyle Hospice. We used the Marie Curie nurses too, who came to stay with her at night to let us get a rest. They were all brilliant.

"Mammy an amazing wee woman. She was an amazing mammy and would do anything for anyone. She was a very caring and compassionate woman. She helped a lot of people through her work in the Jobs and Benefits Office. She was very much against wasting our votes and always made sure that we used it. The last election was no different; she got up from her deathbed to make sure she used her last vote. We were fit to be tied but she insisted on getting into her wheelchair and going. My father was ready to kill her - they fought about it but he will wholeheartedly admit that he was very proud of her, just like all of us were. She was as stubborn as a mule!

"I’ve been seeing some wee signs that my mammy is with me now. My mammy’s maiden name was McGee, so we always called her Wee McGee. There’s been a few wee things happened the past few days and we’ve been saying ‘Wee McGee’s back in the house’. Mammy was very brave and took it all in her stride. She went through with chemo to prolong her life and she faced it all head on. She had no fear in her at all – she would have stood up to the devil if he had have turned up! She was a lioness and looked after everyone.

"The walking is getting me out of the house and giving me fresh air. It’s a way for me to reconnect with friends and even with strangers out and about. Losing my mammy was a big hit to the mental health but she would be raging at me if she saw me sitting in the house moping about after her!”

To support Caroline’s fundraiser, visit

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