Just one year after raising over €180,000 for the OCF & Tullamore Hospital through an Instagram raffle fundraiser, Rachel Gorry took on an incredible skydiving expedition in April 2022, in memory of her beloved husband Daniel.

‘Dive For Daniel’ which offered supporters a chance to win €10,000 worth of raffle prizes in exchange for a €5 minimum donation, raised even more crucial funds and awareness in honour of Daniel on the the second anniversary of his passing from Oesophageal Cancer. 

Rachel and husband Daniel were childhood sweethearts, and tied the knot in June 2012.

“Daniel was a kind, hard working, loving husband and father of 3 girls who were his life, he was a massive Liverpool supporter with the biggest heart. He was a big family person and a great friend to many. Our whole world was turned upside down in September 2018 when Daniel was given a terminal cancer diagnosis at the age of 28. On the 1st of April 2020, just 18 months after his diagnosis, Daniel passed away peacefully at home. He was only 29 years old.” 

As it is often mistaken as a disease that affects mainly older men, it was important to Rachel to use her platform to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of this cancer, following Daniel’s experience.

“Daniel was so sick, it was torture. It was so draining. When he was diagnosed, it was stage four and terminal from day one, so he had an awful 18 months. His type of cancer is called an old man’s cancer but it’s not – he was 28 when he was diagnosed and 29 when he passed”

“So he dismissed his symptoms, saying it could be acid reflux or this or that. Never in a million years did we think it could be something more sinister. If we had, it might have made a difference, who knows.”

She added: “Daniel never smoked, so you think it won’t happen to us until it is there, knocking on your door. To a certain extent you think you are invincible when you are young, it’ll be grand.  But no, always go and get checked out if you have any symptoms, like difficulty swallowing, or persistent heartburn. Go to the doctor, what is a half hour out of your day. And it is important to know your own body for all cancers, not just oesophageal cancer.”

Despite initial reservations on the skydive, which Rachel’s Instagram followers voted in as her fundraising challenge, she said that she really enjoyed taking the leap.

“Daniel would be so proud. I’d go up and do it again, if you’d said that before the jump I’d have said “no way”. I was so nervous but it was grand. There’s nine of us, friends and family, who are jumping today and everyone has loved it. It is daunting but my heart was in it and I actually loved it.’ 

Rachel was supported on the big day by lots of family members including her in-laws, Daniel’s parents. The brave nine all wore Liverpool football shirts as another nod to Daniel who was a big fan of the club.

Having raised another €75,000 and bringing so much awareness to a younger audience, Rachel credited her online community for the success of the fundraiser

“My followers blow me away, it’s all them, I just have the platform to share it. They are so giving and so generous and so supportive, they are incredible and all the credit goes to them,” she said.

“The support is always there, I come on and I speak about my grief and I can be very raw with my grief at times, and they just outpour the support. It really helps me and I’ve gotten to speak so, so many people who have been through the same thing and they give advice. You don’t feel alone.”

“I feel like with family and friends, do they really understand what you’re going through? But when you’re talking to someone who has walked in your shoes, it’s a great community who support one another and I would not have coped as well as I have without that support there.”

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