‘I’ve never seen someone so brave and positive’ – Mayo GAA community rallies behind Emma after leukemia diagnosis
The Play4Emma GoFundMe page set an initial goal of €10,000 but as of Tuesday they had already exceeded their goal seven times.
Enise Carroll is a family friend of the Langans on the outskirts of Killala in County Mayo. She organized fundraising efforts to help 14-year-old Emma Langan after her recent cancer diagnosis.
The underage Mayo star, whose mother died of cancer just three years ago, was diagnosed with leukemia last week. And now the local community has come out in force to lend a hand.
Moygownagh will host the Play4Emma fundraising day this afternoon. There will be Halloween costumes for all age groups in the hall at 3:00 p.m., as well as Halloween games, tricks and treats. Then, at 4:00 p.m., St Brigid U-16s take on McHale Rovers.
There will also be music and refreshments after the game and all proceeds will go to Emma and her family.
“All of this will help cover medical expenses, travel costs, food and all other expenses involved in Emma’s treatment plan,” Denise said.
“Everyone is stepping up and trying to raise as much money as possible. Every penny is needed and every penny is so appreciated, by the community and the Langan family. Everyone wants to do what they can and that’s all we can do for now. Fundraise, fundraise and fundraise.
Emma has four sisters; Ciara, Niamh and Siobhan (23) are triplets, while Orla is 21. And their family was rocked in 2019 when they lost their mother Yvonne.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer a day before Emma’s first communion. She received treatment in Castlebar and Galway before being cleared. However, when his cancer returned, it had spread to his spine and liver, and his condition deteriorated before his death in 2019.
Meanwhile, Emma continued to excel on the sports field and played women’s football for St Brigid club before representing her county last year at U-14 level.
She has also shone on the football pitch and she plays with the Killala and Mayo U-16s.
But she started complaining of aches and pains and her symptoms got progressively worse over time.
“It started with pain in my shoulders and hips,” her sister Ciara said. “And obviously because she’s so athletic and still playing football, we assumed she had muscle pain, maybe because she was growing too. So dad brought her in to do some X-rays and they came back with no problem.
“We just thought it was always muscle pain and growing pains. But last week she started coming out with bruises all over her body. These weren’t the normal bruises you would get if you touched something. It was just really big, really dark bruises, and just very random spots on his hands and on his arms.
“She was very pale too and she couldn’t really move her shoulder either. So Dad knew something was wrong and Emma was a little worried because she didn’t know why she was dating with bruises. She wasn’t in practice or anything to bruise.
“Dad took her to the doctor. The doctor just said he’d send him straight to Castlebar. And then that’s when they started doing all the blood tests.
It turned out to be leukemia and Emma was then sent to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin. She started her treatment there this week.
“Treatment was supposed to start on Monday, but her blood was too low,” Ciara said. “But they took her in at 2pm on Tuesday for bone marrow surgery and she also had a little tube put in her arm. So two procedures she had to do before she started chemo.
Chemotherapy treatment has started and Emma will be at high risk of infection between sessions. Therefore, she will likely spend much of her time at Mayo General Hospital.
She is in her third year at Gortnor Abbey, Crossmolina, but her Junior Cert studies will have to wait for now as she focuses on her rehabilitation. In the meantime, her friends and family are continuing their efforts to help in any way they can.
Her sisters made the first trip to Dublin at the weekend, but three of them have returned home to try to regain some sense of normality in their most trying times.
“I just got home on Monday night because I’m at university in Limerick,” Ciara added. “And on Tuesday morning we kind of took the house apart and cleaned it up so Dad and Emma wouldn’t have to worry about when they got home.
“I make everything more comfortable. I’m just preparing to take her home really.
And as preparations for today’s fundraising event gathered even more momentum, the community rallied around their beloved Langans, who have been through so much.
“All the girls wanted to get together and do something for their friend. They want to show their support and they don’t know what else to do but go out on the pitch,” Denise added.
“We were hoping Emma could be there but obviously she won’t be.
So many people have come together, so many are so generous, too many to name. Everyone is overwhelmed with the support the Langan family is receiving. »
And for Emma, she is amazed by the support she has received. It gave her strength and got her through the first week on her road to recovery.
“Emma just wants everyone to know she’s okay,” Ciara added.
“For example, there hasn’t been a day since she was diagnosed that she didn’t laugh or smile. She took it in her stride.
“I know how she is and I’ve never seen anyone as brave and positive as the way I saw her last week.”
Learn more at www.gofundme.com/f/play4emma