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Courageous Yvonne remembered at fundraising charity night out

May 11th, 2018 7:02 PM

By Southern Star Team

Yvonne's sisters Gillian Twohig and Sharon O'Driscoll with event organiser Jo Balott.

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A SKIBBEREEN woman was remembered as the ‘toughest, most quietly determined woman’ anyone could meet, at a fundraising ball in her honour. 

Yvonne Gilmartin, daughter of Derry and Eileen O’Driscoll, passed away in June 2017, 10 years after she was first diagnosed with inflammatory Her2+ breast cancer in 2007. When diagnosed she was 20 weeks pregnant with her son Max. 

The 2018 Brighter Future Ball, which was held at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin in support of the Cancer Clinical Research Trust (CCRT), was attended by 550 people, 40 of whom were relations and friends of Yvonne’s family from West Cork and further afield.

The fundraising initiative, which Yvonne founded in 2010, had raised over €300,000 for cancer research prior to this year’s event. 

The 2018 ball, hosted as a celebration of Yvonne by her husband Barry Gilmartin, along with Yvonne’s oncologist Professor John Crown, raised €115,035 all of which will go directly towards cancer research.

Barry, who in his speech had captured Yvonne’s strength in the face of adversity, said:  ‘This night would not have been possible without the help of family, friends, and total strangers. Yvonne Gilmartin and her story, her legacy and her inspiration was the motivator for the night and everyone did her proud. The night was a celebration of her and the positivity that she instilled and inspired in so many despite her own travails. She would have loved to have been there to witness such generosity of spirit.’

Speaking on behalf of his wife Eileen and Yvonne’s siblings, Derry O’Driscoll thanked everyone from West Cork who had donated items for the auction as well as those who had made a financial contribution to the CCRT.

‘This was a cause that Yvonne was very passionate about and the ball was a continuation of the work that she started in 2010. As a family we are most grateful that when approached businesses and individuals gave so generously, as did people who without having been approached, came to us with generous offers. We would also like to sincerely thank family and friends who travelled from West Cork and other parts of the country. Finally, we want to thank Barry, who was steadfast in his support of Yvonne, particularly during very difficult times and Professor Crown who always went above and beyond what one might expect in his care for Yvonne.’

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