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Dublin nurse diagnosed with cancer for fourth time channels 'inner Katie Taylor' in fight to survive

A Dublin nurse is currently fundraising for potentially life-saving treatment in the United States.

Ciara Barry is battling cancer for the fourth time, having first been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma as a teen.

The 36-year-old now has a type of blood cancer that doctors believe was caused by all her treatments over the year.

Read more: Finglas woman raises funds for hospitals after fiance loses battle to cancer

In January of this year, Irish doctors advised Ciara to enjoy the time she had left as they were out of treatment options.

This sparked her friends and family to research clinical trials all over the world that might give the young woman a chance at life.

Ciara spoke to Dublin Live about her determination to live and her positive nature in the face of unimaginable adversity.

She said: "I was 13-years-old when I got a different form of cancer- Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Then I relapsed again when I was around 15. I got treated again and got a stem cell transplant.

"I was doing great then before it unfortunately returned ten years later for the third time. I was treated again, went off and had a great cancer- free time. Unfortunately, in 2021 I was diagnosed with treatment related Myelodysplastic Syndrome.

"This is more of a blood cancer. In my case, they feel it's from the toxicity of the chemo and treatments I've had. It's unavoidable. I needed to take all the chemos.

""In January, they told me that the few treatments here weren't going to work. I had to choose between if it was worth doing another load of chemo that just wasn't going to cure it or enjoy my time.

"They said I would end up so sick and just end up dying anyway.

"I've had lots of treatments and tough times but I have come out the other side. When you come out the other side, life is so good.

"There is a chance to get better. I've always been quite positive. I have so many friends that I met when I had cancer as a teenager and we all had really rough times.

"Some didn't make it but others have gone on to live really fulfilled lives, are working and have families.

"I know how good it can be. I just want more of it. I'm dying for a bit of life."

Ciara and her husband Paddy (Ciara Barry)

Ciara's family made a list of all the medical trials available to her across the globe with Car T- Cell Therapy at the Moffitt Cancer Centre in Tampa, Florida quickly appearing as the best option.

The Tallaght hospital nurse said: ""It's a clinical trial in America. My husband and I were just looking at the clinical trials in the U.S. Everyone in the family took a continent. We had a little Google document.

"My doctors in St. James' also gave me a few names of people. Their opinion in St. James' is right unfortunately. It's just that I wanted a second opinion to see if there's anything else out there. They couldn't offer anything else here in Ireland.

"It's only a trial. It's a chance and it's better than 100% no chance."

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Ciara says that her husband Paddy is her rock with the pair getting married in 2015.

She said: "Paddy went to college with my childhood friend. I met him out on rag week. We are together fifteen years. We got married in 2015. He was there for the third time I got sick. It's not his first rodeo. He's been here before.

"The in sickness and in health vows are coming in."

The Rathfarnham native says that it's the little things that keep her going. She stressed that seeing death first-hand at a young age made her determined to always enjoy life to its fullest.

Ciara said: "It's the simple things that keep me positive- hanging out with family and friends. I just love being in their company, going away, having a laugh. It's the normal things. I don't want any flashy kind of life. It's just enjoying the important things. They are the ones that keep you going and there'll always there for you.

"I take my nieces and nephews out on little 'yes' days. I have to say yes to anything they want. We have gone taken lamas for walks, horse-riding, mini-golf even going to the hairdressers.

"They are the ones that keep me wanting to fight, wanting more. I'm 36. I just feel like I want more with the family and friends. Unfortunately, so many of my friends have passed away when I was younger. That was a real eye-opener. You learned what death was at a young age."

Ciara's friends have also set up an Instagram page called 'Keep Ciara' where the group post regular updates about fundraising events.

The young woman is overwhelmed by how the people of Ireland have gotten behind the campaign with the Go-Fund-Me now halfway towards their target.

She said: "I've been blown away. I just thought it would be a few fivers trickling in. I can't believe it. You never think you're going to need a Go-Fund-Me. It's mad to watch. I'm nearly watching the Go-Fund-Me like it's some other poor girl.

"There is going to be an auction. Katie Taylor donated some gloves. Shane Lowry donated his hat and flags from the Open.

"I'm hoping I can channel my inner Katie now."

You can donate to Ciara's fundraising page here.

Read more: Charlie Bird shares heartbreaking update on battle with Motor Neurone Disease

Read more: Inspiring Dublin based woman's almost unnoticed symptom that led to breast cancer diagnosis

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