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Cancer patient makes walking sticks to raise funds for Mater department where he receives treatment

A cancer patient has made walking sticks from bits of wood collected during lockdown to raise funds for the oncology department where he receives treatment.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, 69, is being cared for at Dublin’s Mater Hospital for stage four lung cancer which he has bravely battled for the past 18 months.

The fundraising idea came to him while he was out walking in a forest near his home in Slane, Co Meath.

He said: “I was bored so I was out walking in the forest and started collecting sticks each day until my wife Annette asked what on earth I was going to do with all the bits of wood.

Stephen Fitzpatrick in his shed in Slane making his walking sticks

“I decided to try and make walking sticks to raise funds for the oncology department at the Mater Hospital so when I had time, I shaped and sanded and varnished them and offered them to anyone who wanted them in exchange for a donation.

“I made 47 in total and generated €850 which I presented to the Mater in recent weeks to buy a remote controlled recliner chair for the unit.

“The medical staff have helped me so much so why shouldn’t I try and give something back by helping them.”

Stephen’s wife of 45 years said he has never once grumbled or complained since his diagnosis.

Stephen Fitzpatrick with his wife Annette with his walking sticks in Slane

Annette added: “He went in for an X-ray for a chest infection and they told him he had stage four cancer. He never had one pain or complained at all.

“He is now on the Pembro wonder drug and doing well thankfully.”

Stephen hopes to make more walking sticks – this time in support of the volunteers who drive him to the hospital once every six weeks.

He said: “I have about a dozen more sticks of wood collected at the minute and I hope to sell them for donations to help the volunteer drivers who bring cancer patients to their appointments.

Stephen Fitzpatrick making a presentation to the Mater Hospital about his walking stick venture

“I don’t drive myself so they are a Godsend. 

“They bring me to the hospital to get my bloods checked and then again to the hospital every six weeks for treatment.  

“Sometimes it’s just nice to be grateful for what you have and to say thank you.”

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