NI woman diagnosed with cancer while pregnant to begin treatment after giving birth to baby boy

The friends of a Co Armagh woman who was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with her son have launched a fundraiser to help the young mum as she begins treatment.

Caitlín McAlinden, 24, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma when she was seven months pregnant. Now that her little boy Ríoghán has arrived into the world, Caitlín will be starting her treatment within the next couple of weeks.

Since being diagnosed, Caitlín has had to put a pause on her teaching career, which she "loved so much". She is now having to manage being a new mum and her cancer diagnosis, with no permanent job in place.

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Caitlín had initially attributed her symptoms, which included a golf ball-sized lump on her neck, nausea, and fatigue, to being pregnant. However, after losing two stone in just four months, she was referred to a haematology team at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral, where she was working as a primary school teacher.

After a neck biopsy, she was diagnosed with stage one Hodgkin lymphoma in March 2024.

Caitlín's friend Christie McMahon, says their friend group will be hosting a fundraising night on Friday, June 21, to raise money for the 24-year-old, and for a local charity which has been there for Caitlín during and after her daunting diagnosis.

Caitlín, her partner Conor , her step son Rou and their new baby Ríoghán
Caitlín, her partner Conor , her step son Rou and their new baby Ríoghán -Credit:Submitted

Christine said: "Myself and some of the other girls, have decided to run a fundraising night to raise some funds for Caitlín and the charity Young lives vs Cancer, who has been a massive help to Caitlín.

"Half of the funds raised will go to the directly to the charity, with the other 50% going to Caitlín to help with the purchasing of wigs, cost of living, housing bills etc. The fundraiser will be happening on Friday June 21 in Kanes bar, Derrymacash.

"Everyone is welcome for music and karaoke and doors will open at 9:30pm."

Prizes on the night include makeup and eyelash applications, hampers, food vouchers, alcohol, spray tans and much more. Tickets are priced at £2 for one strip, and £5 for three.

Christine thanked those who have donated so far, and encouraged anyone interested in coming along on June 21, to join them, as they raise money for their best friend.

"Any money donated through the Go Fund Me link will be included in the prizes, so please leave a contact name. Payments for the prizes can also be made on the night of the fundraiser, in cash only please.

"If anyone has any questions, please don’t hesitate to send one of us a private message and we’ll get back to you asap. Thank you so much."

Please click this link to donate to the Go Fund Me page for Caitlín McAlinden.

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