Mercy Cancer CARE Centre

The Mercy Cancer CARE Centre

Mercy Cancer CARE Centre

Did you know that one in two of us will develop cancer in our lifetime and that an estimated 42,000 people in Ireland get cancer each year in Ireland? Cancer is frightening disease and for too long the impact of cancer on a person’s mental health and psychological well-being has not been a priority and we now need to look at improving the total package of care for cancer patients.

At the Mercy University Hospital Foundation we want to improve the wellbeing of people diagnosed and being treated at ‘The Mercy’.

Eight years ago, we had a vision, a vision to create a place for those diagnosed with and being treated for cancer and their families to come. A place for them to take time. Time to begin to understand what their diagnosis means for them. At The Mercy, we want to make sure that this news is told in the most supportive environment possible.

Donate to the Mercy Cancer CARE Centre

We have OPENED the doors to our new Cancer CARE Centre

On the 8th August 2022, work began at 9 Dyke Parade. Nearly 2 years on in March 2024 we opened Irelands only psychologist led Cancer CARE Centre. This new €3M facility is open to all cancer patients being treated at MUH and to their families.

While our cancer doctors and nurses look after the patient medically, the team in our Cancer CARE Centre will work with the person and sometimes with family members, to address the psychological impact of their diagnosis. The psycho-oncology service aims to give all cancer patients psychological care and emotional support when they need it.

Psycho-Oncology is concerned with the treatment of distress caused by a cancer diagnosis. Studies have found that while 53% of patient cope adequately with their cancer centre, despite the stresses of the illness, 47% had levels of distress that reached diagnostic criteria for a psychiatric disorder. Among these patients, 32% showed a mixture of reactive depression and anxiety.

Speaking about the service that will be offered at the Mercy Cancer CARE Centre, Dr. Tara Houlihan, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Psycho-oncology at the Mercy University Hospital said:

“Our team will offer psychological support to patients and families at every step of the journey – following diagnosis, during treatment, and beyond – and will provide assessment and a range of psychologically-based therapeutic interventions matched to the patient and their family’s emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual needs.”

The Mercy Cancer CARE Centre, amongst other things, features a sensory garden and a library service which will also be online so that it can be accessed from home, together with space for staff and student Psychologists.

Our new Foundation Cancer CARE Centre, based at 9 Dyke Parade, is within minutes of the Mercy University Hospital. Covering an area of over 5,000 square feet, the centre offers individual and family therapy rooms as well as a facility for groups to meet.

There is also a library where information on cancer and mental health can be accessed, as well as a large kitchen / social area where those visiting the centre can make a cup of tea or coffee while they wait for an appointment or whilst waiting for a loved one.

The facility also offers visitors the opportunity to visit our centres garden where they can escape to make time to reflect on the journey that they find themselves on.

As well as costing over €3 million to develop, it will cost over €300,000 annually to provide support services such as psycho-oncology and our series of workshops to patients to support them during and after their treatment. 100% of these funds will be raised from donations and through the generosity of our supporters participating in a range of events like the Mercy Golf Classic.

Thank you so much for your support. Together, we can give our patients and their families the support they need on their cancer journey.

Moya’s sister, Aileen, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Here is her family’s story…

AileenandMoya2“Why not me?”

These were the incredible words of my sister Aileen, when she was diagnosed out of the blue at the age of 29 with terminal cancer. Choking back the tears, I had asked, “Why you? Why did this have to happen to you?” And that was her simple reply. “Why not me?” But then that was Aileen. She loved life. She literally had one of those smiles that lit up a room. She was just 30 when she died. That year, as she received treatment at The Mercy, the doctors and nurses didn’t just help her physically. They helped her – and our whole family – emotionally too. But it wasn’t easy.

As a family, we spent so much time together with Aileen in the Hospital. We ended up loitering in the halls, or standing at the coffee machine. I remember when we were told the chemo wasn’t working. I started to cry, but Aileen preferred positivity so we tried not to get too upset in front of her. I got up and left the room to let it all out in private. But I had nowhere to go. So I ended up crouched in the corridor with my back against the wall, with everyone walking past me and I just cried until I was able to calm down.

Every day in The Mercy, someone needs a place to go to cry, or calm down, or talk to someone, or gather their wits or learn more about what is happening. The Mercy Cancer CARE Centre will be that place. We are asking for support. Please will you say ‘Why not me?

Moya has written many poems since Aileen died to help her with the grief, and to remember the amazing person she was. We hope you enjoy this one…


To change a life

by Moya Muldowney

To support a life in faith alone;

building a bridge on ones own.

She wove a brighter destiny

between the stars, herself and me.

Her fingers cold, held my hand,

whilst we struggled to understand.

A smile unfailing on her face

held us firm in her heart’s embrace.

She fought a battle; she did fall.

We supported her through it all.

In one weak moment, we did ask,

“why was she given this task”.

Her eyes shone pure with honesty,

her voice replied, “why not me?”

In that moment, humbled by she,

my life changed; she changed me.

You can also make a donation by ringing 021-4274076 or by sending a cheque/postal order to Mercy Hospital Foundation, 9 Dyke Parade, Cork, T12 EY91.

The Mercy Cancer Appeal - Leading the fight against cancer