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Laois mum set to shave her head to raise funds in memory of beloved son

This Laois mother has decided to celebrate turning 80-years-old in a truly unique and special way.

Abbeyleix mam Gemma Bowell is going to shave her head in order to raise funds for the Night Nursing Service of the Irish Cancer Society in memory of her beloved son John.

55-year-old John passed away in November 2018 following a brave battle with cancer and now Gemma wants to raise money for the nurses who cared for her son.

Gemma’s daughter Rebecca explained to LaoisToday the reason for her mam’s fundraiser.

Rebecca said: “When we lost John to cancer last November, our lives changed so much.

“Gone was the gentle, loving son, brother, husband, father and grand-father – a man who gave so much of himself to others and asked nothing in return.

“During his last few days, we were helped in ways beyond measure by the Night Nursing Service of the Irish Cancer Society (you may know them as the Daffodil Nurses).

“These angels made it possible for John to die in the comfort of his own home surrounded by his family and loved ones.

“They also provided comfort to us his family and friends and a feeling of confidence that there was someone there whom we could turn to if needed.”

Gemma Bowell

Gemma will shave her head in The Horseshoe Inn, Abbeyleix on Saturday August 17 and Rebecca is hoping people will turn out to support her mam.

She said: “The Spanner in the Works will be playing on the night and kick-off will be 10pm.

“We’d love it if you could come on the evening to help support her. She’s an amazing woman and I’m continually in awe of her capacity to give of herself for others (I guess we know where John got that from!).

“It would have been so easy for her to curl up and give up but no, that’s not her. If you can donate to her fund that’d be great.

“If you can’t, please share this so that we can get as much support as possible for her.”

Gemma has set up a fundraising page on Facebook and anyone wishing to donate can do so here. 

John Bowell

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.