LAST year Marieanne O’Shea from Ardglass was walking in the Moonlight Walk run by Action Cancer, Northern Ireland’s leading cancer charity, to raise funds and awareness about breast cancer in the knowledge that she herself was being screened for the disease. A consultant later confirmed she had breast cancer and she then underwent intense treatment. Her recovery has been all the more remarkable as during her very difficult ordeal, she also continued her studies on an Access Course at SERC and received a huge accolade for being the NI Student of the Year.
Next Tuesday Down News will publish Marieanne’s full story how she discovered she had cancer, and how she and her family coped with it. It is a story of immense courage and determination, after going through six chemo therapies and two of radiotherapy.
This year Marieanne is walking in the Ballygowan Pink Moonlight Walk for the third year in a row. She said, “After my very difficult brush with cancer, I know what it is and we need to fight this disease with everything we’ve got. I’m certainly trying to help Action Cancer in their efforts and a group of my friends and I are taking part. It all helps to get the message across about the need to be aware of breast cancer.
“The NHS breast screen for breast cancer is for women over 50, but Action Cancer has a mobile bus and a clinic on the Lisburn Road in Belfast where screening for women under that age takes place. This helps to identify some issues early on and prevents a lot of suffering and even lives being lost. This is a very worthwhile charity which covers the whole of Northern Ireland.”
Aideen Bryce, a friend of Marieanne’s who lives in Downpatrick, was herself diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago and has successfully undergone treatment. “We are all determined to support Action Cancer this year,” said Aideen. “It is a terrible disease and the cancer treatment itself has quite a number of side effects such as hair loss and blisters are present, but there are many other side affects that are never discussed including sore feet making it svery difficult to walk. It is when like-minded people get together to share and discuss things that we discover we are all going through a very similar experience.
“That’s the reason why we are all dressing as Dalmatians on the walk. Our motto is ‘You have to protect your puppies’. We don’t want other women to have to go through this distress and pain unnecessarily.”
Marieanne added, “In order to fundraise for this event, we are organising a SWISHING NIGHT in the Harbour View Bar in Ardglass on Friday 3rd June starting at at 7.30pm. Basically, it’s an event where women come along and swop items of clothing and accessories. There is an entry fee of £5 which goes to Action Cancer. And on the night there will be a raffle, a buffet, and a disco. And there will be plenty of craic.
“The registration for the Moonlight Walk on Friday 17th June itself costs £80 which includes four walkers at £20 each. This £80 is the price of one mammogram.
“Anyone can donate by logging on to: http://justgiving.com/Marieanne-OsheaO
“The age for participants in the Moonlight Walk is 13+. There will be hundreds of people taking part in it. The walkers head into town and then back out again. It is quite a safe, family event. Action Cancer provides a great package of support for diagnosis and for sufferers and we are only too happy to support this charity.”
Don’t miss Marieanne’s story next Tuesday.
For more information, log on to the Action Cancer website: