‘I couldn’t even wash myself. I just had no energy whatsoever’

David McClarty MLA. PICTURE KEVIN MCAULEY PHOTOGRAPHY MULTIMEDIA

David McClarty MLA. PICTURE KEVIN MCAULEY PHOTOGRAPHY MULTIMEDIA

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An MLA and former Coleraine mayor, who was stricken with cancer, aims to be “full steam ahead” again by the New Year.

Independent unionist David McClarty said he refused to lie down in the face of his illness, and is hopeful of being able to lead a normal life before too long.

Alderman McClarty has just had his sixth and final chemotherapy session at Antrim Area Hospital; a treatment which he began in May.

“You arrive in sheer trepidation,” he said. “You see this place full of individuals of all ages with various forms of cancer.

“(But) cancer is not the word it used to be. There’s so much that can be done for people nowadays. The doctors, when I was first diagnosed, were positive, and that positivity was transferred to myself.”

Besides the loss of hair and some diminished tastebuds, he has suffered few ill-effects from the treatment.

“Obviously it’ll take a wee while to get back to full health and strength. But 14 weeks ago I couldn’t even wash myself. I just had no energy whatsoever.

“But as the treatment started, that strength began to return. Small things then become huge achievement. Being able to wash myself was a major achievement.”

His nerve-wracking journey began in April when he was diagnosed with lymphoma, a blood cancer.

He believes it could have been fatal had he not sought medical advice when he did.

“It puts a whole new perspective on very many things, and on life itself – what is, and isn’t important,” he said.

“Perhaps in many ways I put a lot of time into my work, and probably ignored family life in some ways.”