Ballymahon doctor, Laura Noonan, with her husband Archie and daughter Freya, ringing in the new year together. Photo via Laura's Facebook page, @LaurasRussianLifeline.
With Christmas done and dusted and 2019 well and truly underway, the whole county is looking towards a new year with new resolutions and new hopes - and none moreso than the family of Laura Noonan, who had a long, difficult year of treatment in 2018.
The Ballymahon doctor captured the hearts of everyone in Longford in September 2017 when her husband, Archie, set up a GoFundMe account to raise the funds needed to get Laura the essential chemotherapy and stem cell treatment she needed in Russia.
To date, the account, Laura's Russian Lifeline, has raised more than €110,000 for Laura in a bid to get her healthy again for her daughter, Freya.
Laura travelled to Moscow in January 2018 where she received chemotherapy treatment and the stem cell transplant as planned.
However, recovery from the treatment has been difficult with the family coming up against many complications and issues over the course of the year.
Laura left Moscow in March and was admitted to hospital in Dublin where she remained for nine weeks.
Laura has since travelled back to Moscow and is now faced with travelling over and back every few months for the foreseeable future.
On her Facebook page, Laura's Russian Lifeline, Laura posted a belated Christmas message that detailed the struggles she has been going through over the festive season.
“I wanted this Christmas to be perfect,” she wrote.
“I wanted a Hallmark Christmas. I wanted everyone to spend quality family time together to make up for all the time we spent apart over the past year.
“I wanted everyone to enjoy Christmas but I have now come to realise that I didn’t just want everyone to have a lovely Christmas - I desperately needed everyone to have a lovely Christmas.
“I needed to make up for everything I have put everyone through this past year. I needed to see my family relaxed and enjoying time spent together at home instead of around a hospital bed in Dublin or thousands of miles from home in Moscow.”
The perfect Christmas didn't happen for Laura this yeart. But, she said, it was better than last Christmas.
“I had hoped Christmas 2018 would be better than Christmas 2017,” she said.
“Reflecting on things made me realise that it was better than last year. The worst of my treatment is hopefully behind me. I survived three trips to Moscow.... it was almost easy to forget how that might not have been the case...
“There were some terrifying moments over the year where I thought the fight was over. It’s just going to take more time to see the benefit of all I have been through.
“Most of what I’m experiencing now is as a result of the incredibly gruelling treatment I have been having. With time that will improve.”
Despite it all, the young mother is looking forward to a 2019 that will hopefully bring good health.
“We will try to spend more quality time together. Less existing and more living,” said Laura on Facebook.
“This year I have to settle for my medications while counting my blessings that I’m here. Next year will be our year..... I can feel it.”
To keep up to date with Laura's journey back to health, follow Laura's Russian Lifeline on Facebook.