Determined Denis Brown always dreamed of fulfilling her ambitions like recording her own CD, visiting New York and climbing Croagh Patrick.
But when she was struck down by cancer in 2002 she never thought she would live to see those dreams come through.
But now that she has beaten the dreaded disease, she is grabbing life by the horns.
Denise, who now lives in Raphoe, revealed she was so convinced she was going to die that she wrote partner Paul a letter and even bought birthday cards and wrote them for her children right up to their 18th birthday.
“That’s how scared I was. I didn’t just want to leave them on their own. I wanted to be with them on their birthdays.
“I also knew that Paul would need some help so I wrote him out a letter of all the little things he needed to do for the children. I even told him that I didn’t mind if he met another woman as long as she was good to the children,” revealed Denise, 39.
But despite being told by consultants at Letterkenny General Hospital that she might only have six months to live, she battled on.
She had a mastectomy and had to undergo chemotherapy and even asked her children to shave off her beautiful blonde hair so they wouldn’t feel left out.
Denise said her battle with cancer made her have a completely different outlook on life.
“All Paul and me were concerned about was helping me to live so we could continue to be a family together. People talk about the Celtic Tiger and how tough things are now. We never saw the Celtic Tiger because all out money went on cancer treatment and running to hospitals,” she laughed.
As well as recording her CD and scaling the pilgrimage to Mayo, Co Donegal woman Denise also has a raft of other items on her ‘bucket list.’
She plans to visit New York, wants to run in this year’s Dublin City Marathon, learn how to play golf and also wants to see Donegal life the Sam Maguire cup at Croke Park.
But the inspirational woman has completed a few things already on her bucket list.
She promised herself an old Mercedes car and moved to a bigger house. And she has also walked on the beach in Gweedore in her bare feet touching the sand.
But the biggest thing on her list was having more children and seeing her eldest daughter Erin, now 13, making her First Communion.
“Seeing Erin in her dress was something I honestly thought I would never see. The arrival of my two other children after the cancer, Conrad and Regan, are just the icing on the cake. Now my life is complete,” she said.
Or perhaps almost complete.
Denise also revealed that when she had her surgery, partner Paul arrived in the hospital with a ring and asked her to marry him.
She told him she would when her blonde hair grew as long as she could grow it.
“It’s now down my back and I don’t think it can get any longer. We don’t need to be married to know that we want to spend the rest of our lives together.
“But maybe he might get the hint now that my hair is really long and ask me again,” laughed Denise.