Jeffery Mahoney

A Tribute to Jeff Mahoney

Jeff & Naomi July 2006

Macarthur's cancer patients benefit
From Fairfax Community Newspapers, Campbelltown

Jeff James Mahoney, or JJ as he is always known, has pancreatic cancer. Doctors have told him there is no chance of remission.

Last October, he was finishing chemotherapy and radiation treatment at the Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre at Campbelltown Hospital when his wife Naomi saw saw a brochure advertising the 24-Hour Fight Against Cancer Macarthur fund-raiser at the Athletics Stadium, Leumeah.

Naomi and JJ's sister, Robyn, decided to enter a team.

"We don't have financial resources to make a donation to the Macarthur Cancer Centre, so we though if we could get sponsorship it would be our way of saying thanks," Naomi said.

"A brother-in-law secured a $500 donation from his social club and the Ingelburn RSL and Campbelltown Community Pipes and Drum Band matched it on condition that Robyn completed 100 laps. Robyn said yes - and then found out how far 100 laps really was."

"JJ's four children and parents also arranged sponsorship and raffles."

"On the event weekend JJ was still feeling poorly so his mum and dad brought their campervan to allow him to join in the fun and rest in comfort when needed. Family members, including JJ in a wheelchair, took turns to accompany Robyn on the track. An exhausted Robyn finished her 100th lap on the Sunday"

Jeff, Naomi and Robyn came to the recent launch of the 2006 Fight Against Cancer Macarthur.

"JJ has stayed with us to see another year because of his positive attitude - and because Macarthur has the very best Cancer Centre," Naomi said. The team raised $3,000.

If you are interested in finding out more contact Kathy on 02 4627 4743 or Sue on 0402 351 339.

Life spent giving all he can give

By Mandy Wyer June 14th 2006

When long-term blood doner Jeffery Mahoney was giving blood it was always with the idea that he could help save someone's life - he never dreamed that he might find himself on the receiving end.

Mr Mahoney, 43, grew up in Padstow and comes from a family of blood doners and SES volunteers, but none have been as determined to donating blood to the Red Cross as he.

He not only donated blood about four times a year, originally starting back at the age of 18, but he also organised bus loads of people from the pallet manufacturer where he worked to make the trip into the Red Cross to give blood.

He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the beginning of last year after noticing that his skin was going yellow and itchy.

"I went to the doctor and he found a tumor pushing against my bile duct," Mr Mahoney said.

"The doctor said I was dying and had only six to 12 months to live. That was 18 months ago," he said.

Last week, he received a quarter of his blood supply volume being pumped back into him within a 24 hour period and has had about seven packs of blood in the last 2 weeks because his body is no longer maintaining a healthy blood supply.

But Mr Mahoney, a man if few words, remained philosophical and unbitter about his situation.

"We've all got to go sometime. I have just been given a shorter time frame than others," he said.

"When I wake up in the morning and look at the new day I think about my wife, my family, my parents and sisters - all the people who I love - and that is my blessing."

Mr Mahoney grew up in a family which espoused the value of community and always giving something back rather than looking for life's monetary rewards.

Mum and Dad were always doing something in the community - Dad with the Scouts and Mum with the Guides. They were also always helping out after school and in the school holidays, as well, and were members of the SES.

"Only last Monday they were out chopping five trees down," he said.

Mr Mahoney said his parents, aged 65 and 69, set a good example and he tried to follow their lead giving both blood and plasma as his means of giving back to the community.

"I wasn't ever very financial and thought blood seemed like a good way of being charitable," he said.

"Even if you don't end up needing blood yourself, like me, at least you can be sure that someone else is going to be able to use it and be better off as a result in the end."

 

Writen by Robyn Mahoney, September, 2006

Dear Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins,

A month ago on Wednesday 16th of August 2006at 8 minutes before 8 in the morning my brother Jeffery James Mahoney peacefully passed away. He had fought a hard battle with pancreatic cancer for 17 months a battle that many only fight for 4-6 months. I never thought I could journey with someone as they prepare to die and often wondered how the nurses manage. After the last year and a half I can say I was honoured to be a part of that journey. Jeff accepted that he was dying and openly spoke about it. Many would be offended at the jokes we had with him about dying But Jeff said you can’t fight it, all of us have been allotted a certain amount of time on earth and his was shorter. As Jeff got weaker he seemed to get stronger in a different way. Even on the Sunday before he died after we told him that this could be the end and he could die with in hours he rallied up the strength to joke with us all and to flog off his bands CD to Paige. God blessed us with a beautiful memory of that day. when as a family we sat around the hospital bed his wife, the kids, the parents, the siblings, the niece and nephew. We all arrived crying knowing we were to say goodbye but left with a peaceful heart with memories of Jeff joking with us and us with him.

The next day Jeff was great and sat and played cards with me the blood transfusions had given him more strength and we were wondering why we had called the family in but as the day continued we realised that he was not going to come home this time. By Tuesday morning Jeff was given a lot of sedation to keep him comfortable and again the family was called in. This day was not to be as joyful as the Sunday and we left with a sadness knowing that soon Jeff would die. Jeff hung in there till the following morning and took his last breath as Naomi sang to him.

His funeral was a celebration of his life so many people have said that as funerals go it was the best they had been to. Jeff had already prepared his funeral he wanted a broken chanter (practice pipes) placed on the coffin as he was now a broken piper and he asked for a song called "When the pipers play" to be played at his funeral. We did a slide show reflecting his life, to go with the song. Below is some of the words from the song

WHEN THE PIPERS PLAY.

I hear the voice,
I hear the war,
I hear the sound on the distant shore,
I feel the Spirit of yesterday,
I touch the past and the Pipers play.

The pipes kept playing for you and me,
They kept on saying we'll soon be free,
And your soul will never fade away,
You'll live forever when the Pipers play.

The eulogy was given by Dad, Naomi and Gary, Dad shared of Jeff’s life and his achievements and how he had fought the battle, Naomi (his wife) shared on how much Jeff had touched her life and gave her confidence. and Gary shared that Jeff was the best dad you could of asked for.

Jeff was carried out of the church by his son, nephew, cousins and best friend. While his pipe band played "Amazing Grace". They made a guard of honour as we all left for the cemetery. Even the band attending was a miracle as they had a prior appointment which they left to come to the church and then returned to afterwards.

The Forest lawn cemetery is a beautiful peaceful place with shady trees and duck ponds. Paige and Michelle played a clarinet duo as Jeff was laid to rest. They played "Mull of Kintyre" as we all arrived and then finished with "Abide by me".

Writing this down seems like a blur to me. Has it really been a month since we sat in the hospital crying. In the last month it seems like not a day goes by that something doesn’t remind me of Jeff some fun memories and some sad ones. People ask how are you coping, how’s Naomi. How’s Mum and Dad. Well it is never easy when someone dies especially when the person is young, we all have good days and bad days, days where we don’t think we can go on and days where it seems like a dream and we are waiting to wake up. In a lot of ways we have grieved for the last 18 months from when we were first told that they couldn’t get the cancer. But Jeff’s strength and courage has helped us all he was such a remarkable person in facing death and that gave us all the strength to go through this. God has also carried us. He blessed us in so many ways in the last months. Many little things that mean so much. God has also blessed us with the support of friends and family over 150 people attended the funeral and so many more couldn’t make it due to short notice. I received well over 100 text messages, people were praying all over the world and I know it is because of this that we could go on.

Last year we walked in the 24 hour fight against cancer to raise money for the cancer centre Jeff attended. We called our team 14JJ (JJ being Jeffery James) I walked 100 laps and was sponsored per lap (100 laps equals 40km) as well as having garage sales and raffles our team raised over $3000. when interviewed for the paper Jeff said he was proud of Naomi and I for the effort we made for the walk.

This year again we are attending and I will walk 100 laps in his memory although it will be hard not having Jeff to walk beside me as I finish my last lap. If you are free to come and walk with me and remember Jeff. Donations can be sent to Naomi, at 19 Loddon Cres, Campbelltown 2560. all donations are tax deductible. the event is on the 21st -22nd October at Leumeah sports ground Campbelltown.

God bless you all and hope to see you soon love Robyn Mahoney