Relay walk honours sister

SOUTH Penrith mother of six Narelle Monahan died of cancer aged 43 on July 22, 2013.

Only a few weeks before, she had opened and walked in the Relay for Life in Penrith.

Miss Monahan's sister, Janette Potter-Eapen, of Glenmore Park, is remembering her by taking part in this year's Relay for Life with her team, The Rainbow Butterflys.

"Narelle was my eldest sister; eight years older than I am," Mrs Potter-Eapen said.

"Our journey with cancer started in April 2012, when Narelle was diagnosed with duodenal cancer."

She said her sister maintained a positive attitude, but that her health rapidly deteriorated.

Miss Monahan underwent surgery, which removed parts of her stomach and pancreas and her duodenum.

"Relle was then in intensive care for five days before going home to Mum's where she stayed for two months," Mrs Potter-Eapen said.

"This should have been longer but Relle insisted on going home to be with her children."

She also began six courses of chemotherapy.

"Narelle never asked for help or expected anyone to do anything for her," Mrs Potter-Eapen said. "But I would be at Narelle's every day; I have a nursing background so that came in handy. The whole family had been helping out with cooking and cleaning."

She said her sister tried to live life as normally as possible and insisted that her children not disrupt their schooling or work for her.

"In the last few months it was very emotional for us all, but especially for my mum," she said.

"Dad was also sick with a fatal disease and my mother's father had passed away due to lung cancer."

Mrs Potter-Eapen said her sister retained her positive outlook to the end.

She wants to remember her by taking part in as many Relays for Life as possible.

"I'm hoping to kick this cancer swiftly up its butt and on its way out of people's lives for good," she said.

Details: relay.cancercouncil.com.au/2014/penrith_2014/Rainbow-Butterfly--s

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