In the early hours of this morning, 1st February 2023, my sister Shona Passed away peacefully surrounded by her family and in the very best of care of the team at St Vincent’s Hospital Dublin.

This is an update I always knew I would have to write someday. I know that Shona’s name means so much to so many people and that with her passing the story behind this organisation will be forever changed.

Shona was 15 when she first got ill. Before that point, she was a beautiful young girl with the world at her feet. She had hopes and dreams just like we all did at that age. She was passionate about animals, and spent as much time riding horses as she possibly could. She had an affinity with them, they were her happy place. She would spend her summers going to equestrian camps where she would muck out stables and help with feeds before heading off across the fields at a gallop with the wind in her hair.

She loved to read, Black Beauty, which obviously was a favourite, as were the many Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl books that we read over and over again. Every now and again we would hit the road up west to see our families, with audio tapes of The Twits, and Revolting Rhymes entertaining us all the way, cracking up in the back seat whilst fighting over whose turn it was to sit in the middle.

When she became sick, all those hopes and dreams slipped through her fingers, and with each year that passed since, the beautiful blond girl with the braces and freckles became a more distant memory in our minds.

Throughout her illness, she defied medicine, science and pure logic, time and time again. On numerous occasions, doctors would tell us her time was nearing an end, only to return the next day and see her cackling with laughter and shouting at the top of her lungs with the type of colourful language that only she would get away with.

I have never known anyone to fight so long and so hard, with such defiance and stubbornness. Shona was ill, incapacitated and debilitated, but she was never weak.

In her name, the Shona Project has supported tens of thousands of girls in every corner of Ireland. Each of those girls knows who she is, and understands how important her legacy is. Her story has inspired so many young women to take better care of themselves and each other, to use their voices to create change and impact and to understand and appreciate how important they are to the world. While many of our community never met Shona in person, I know that they had an affinity with her and the sisterhood she represents.

They say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time. If this is true, Shona will live on for a long, long time.

As a family, we will take some time to say goodbye to our sister, daughter, aunt and friend. And then we will get right back to work, continuing to build that legacy.

Rest in peace big sister,

All my love,

Tammy x

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