Empty Chairs – Eloise Mullin’s Story
Currently, thanks to advances in research and treatments, three out of every four people diagnosed with blood cancer in Northern Ireland survive. Eloise Mullin from Fermanagh is one of those people.
Eloise was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in March 2012. She was only 26 years old.
Before her cancer diagnosis, Eloise’s life was just beginning. She had left her family home in Fermanagh and moved to Belfast, taking up a position as a Home Economics Teacher at Forthill Integrated College in Lisburn. She was a keen charity worker, who had been to Kenya with a group of teenagers to support those in need. And she had a vibrant social life – often meeting up with friends and family across the country.
Eloise first became aware that something may be wrong when her energy levels began to rapidly deplete. She found herself sleeping all the time, day and night, and unable to travel back to Fermanagh to visit her family. She was just too weak. Then, she discovered a swollen gland on her neck. When it wouldn’t go away, she knew it was time to visit her GP.
After months of inconclusive tests, Eloise finally underwent a biopsy and was told that there was a reason for her exhaustion. She had blood cancer – stage 2A Hodgkins Lymphoma. It was a shock, but also a relief to find an explanation for her constant lack of energy.
Eloise immediately began a series of treatments including chemotherapy, which meant she had to take extended leave from her work. Thankfully, they were incredibly supportive throughout her experience, and after two and a half years, Eloise was able to return part-time.
Now, life for Eloise had never been better. She is back at work full-time and is due to become an aunt this summer. She has taken up jogging – the best way to beat her exhaustion – and she now travels independently, recently completing the last part of the Camino de Santiago in the North of Spain.
Remission is possible for people like Eloise thanks to research done by scientists, like those funded by Leukaemia & Lymphoma NI right here in Belfast. They are working hard to develop new and more effective treatments, which mean that a diagnosis is not a death sentence anymore. Eloise is a survivor.
We’d love it if you shared Eloise’s story and spread the word. Together, we can help reduce the number of empty chairs created by blood cancer.