A bride has told of her heartache at being forced to sell her wedding dress after her husband who is battling stage four cancer was denied a medical card.
Last January John Mooney, 41, received a shock diagnosis of advanced colorectal cancer, having been ill for just a few weeks.
Just one day later he was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery before embarking on a gruelling 12-week course of chemotherapy.
Over the past 18 months, John has undergone a number of major surgeries, scans and treatments, but despite his deteriorating health was recently denied a medical card.
As a result, the family, from Walterstown, Co Meath, had to pull together, even forcing his wife Naomi to sell the cherished wedding dress she never got to wear to raise money towards her husband’s care.
The childhood sweethearts tied the knot in a low-key ceremony in lockdown and were looking forward to celebrating with a proper reception this year, where the mother of one was hoping to wear her dream dress, but plans were abandoned so any spare cash could be used for John’s needs.
Naomi said the stress of being turned down for a medical card is taking its toll with John even suggesting stopping treatment in order to avoid being a burden on the family.
She added: “I’m fuming, that’s for sure, we really could do without the added stress.
“The medical card crowd sent John a GP visit card deciding he doesn’t need a medical card but he never visits the GP as, if there are any issues, he needs the hospital.
“It’s crazy that a family of three cannot have income more than €304.50 a week if they want a medical card – petrol costs nearly €100 a week with all the back and forth to hospitals. John is heading towards some major surgery in the new year so straight away we’ll probably end up incurring the €800 yearly inpatient cost limit.
“You are not automatically entitled to a medical card if you have cancer unless you have less than 12 months to live, we don’t know what the future is going to hold, you want to hope they will keep him stable for as long as possible.
“He is fighting so hard to keep as well as he can but he says if he can’t have a medical card, maybe he should just stop treatment as we can’t afford the costs of all his medications and scans.
“I’ve told him that is not an option under any circumstances. He’s lucky he’s doing so well with his treatment, not everyone is as lucky so we will do what we need to do to ensure he can keep going.”
In a further shocking twist, Naomi was targeted in an online scam by callous fraudsters posing as potential buyers for her wedding dress she was forced to sell.
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She revealed: “Last week I decided to sell the dress online to raise some money for Christmas. It was a heartbreaking decision because I had dreamed of wearing that dress for our proper wedding day.
“I thought I had it sold straight away but it was just a scam artist.
“Someone texted me inquiring about it and they tried to do An Post courier thing where they pay An Post for the price of the item and you have to give An Post your card details to get your money.
“When you click on the link it looks like the genuine An Post website.
“Thankfully I didn’t fall for it for I’m sure there are plenty of people who do.”
The HSE was contacted for comment.