Cookstown cancer sufferer left without phone connection for two weeks

John and Carole Donnelly who were left without a telephone line for two weeks. Pic by Sandra Vaisnoraite.
John and Carole Donnelly who were left without a telephone line for two weeks. Pic by Sandra Vaisnoraite.

A COOKSTOWN woman who has been battling cancer for the last three years was left without a telephone line for two weeks.

Carole Donnelly from Ballynagilly Lane relies on her phone line and Broadband connection to contact her GP’s surgery to order vital medication and keep in contact with family members.

Carole who is originally from Oxford, England, and her husband John, have a contract with Post Office Telephones and were unable to use their line since October 17. Having lost both telephone and Broadband, the couple reported the problem on October 18 and 19. She was unable to follow this issue up with the customer service department as her phone line did not work correctly. The line was eventually restored on Thursday, October 31.

“I have felt totally isolated without access to a phone and urgent medical contacts. All my medications are ordered at different times and I have to go to my son’s house which is about eight miles away to use the Internet,” she said.

The Donnellys live some distance away from their neighbours which has exacerbated the situation.

“If the car was to break down, then I don’t know what we’d do,” she added.

Carole, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, takes numerous tablets daily and since then the cancer has spread to other parts of her body including her liver. Husband John who is a native of Stewartstown, makes wooden artefacts to raise money for Charis Cancer Care which has provided Carole with complementary therapies including reflexology.

“It’s our way of saying thank-you,” added Carole. Since contacting the Post Office, the company has offered the couple credit for the two weeks when the line was out of order, and two free months rental on her next phone bill.

A POST Office spokesperson said they are extremely sorry to hear of the problems Mrs Donnelly experienced with its phone service. “We fully accept that the level of service she received on this occasion has fallen below our usual high standards and this is unacceptable. We have now spoken to Mrs Donnelly and have offered her a payment of goodwill as an apology,” said a spokesperson.

If you would like the mid ulster mail to highlight your story then call us on 028 8676 2288 or email