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85% of women now survive breast cancer over five years, compared to less than 50% in 1976.


Be inspired by the stories of the Breast Cancer Survivors who modeled for our Get the Girls Out Afternoon Tea in May 2017.

...(there is a link in each bio to an educational video relating to each woman's experience)...


Alice Phelan

Alice is originally from Portlaw, but living in Waterford City with her partner Brian and 2yo son Billy. She was diagnosed with Grade 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (ER+) breast cancer in July 2016, at the age of 35.

Getting ready for bed one night, she discovered a small lump on her right breast, and went to her GP a few days later. Referred to the Breast Clinic in WUH, she had a triple assessment (mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy) on the same day. It was confirmed as cancer.

I couldn't process it while the doctor delivered the news, I kept thinking this must be a mistake. Unfortunately it wasn't a mistake, it was cancer but I had caught it early. In the coming weeks, I had surgery to remove the lump with a couple of lymph nodes, a cycle of IVF to retrieve my eggs and freeze embryos as I didn't know at the time if I needed chemo or not. After that I had 4 weeks of radiotherapy and have been on hormone therapy since. 


Maria Irish


10 years ago, during a routine check-up because of her family history, a friend of Maria's was diagnosed with breast cancer.

This prompted her to check herself, and she discovered an anomaly - not really a lump, but more of a thickening. Fortunately, she decided to get it checked, and discovered she too had breast cancer.

I had a mastectomy, lymphectomy, chemotherapy, radium therapy, and finally reconstruction. It will be 10 years in September and I feel great. I know I'm one of the lucky ones, and hopefully that will continue. Early detection is vital and thanks to my friend - who is sadly no longer with us - I was prompted to check myself. I cannot stress enough the importance of doing this.

Ruth Harris

37 yo single mum Ruth and her lovely daughter Lucy (10yo) were down all the way from Dublin for the event, doing their part to raise awareness. Ruth has been fighting cancer in her liver and sternum, as well as breast cancer, since January 2015. She started with intense chemo 3 times per week for 7 months - which shrank the tumours, and eliminated it altogether in her sternum.

Unfortunately though, it then spread to her bones, so she went through radiation therapy, and she's now back on chemo every week to prevent further spreads.

My last 2 scans (Christmas and April) showed no new tumours, no growth in what's already there, and a postitive decrease in my liver tumour. So here I am.. making sure that I always have something planned to look forward to; because after being told last year that if I didn't tolerate this chemo there might be no more treatments left to try, I make sure that I make the most of every good day I have. And I still quote my original motto #CANCERYOUPICKEDTHEWRONGGIRL.

Update, July 2017

-- RIP to our beautiful friend Ruth Harris --
She showed us all what true bravery is and we were privileged to know her, she will be forever in our hearts.
Our thoughts remain with Lucy, and all of Ruth's family and friends x

Jean Rowe


Waterford woman Jean is aged 48, a mother of two grown up kids – Cathal (21yo) and Sadie-mai (18yo) – and married to Tommy.

Back on 17th February 2015 (she remembers it was a Tuesday), she found a lump in her right boob and took herself straight to the doctor the very next day.

Jean said she knew herself something wasn’t right, and the doctor’s reaction confirmed it. It was stage 2 cancer, and it had moved into her glands. Her treatment was a lumpectomy, she had glands removed, 4 lots of chemotherapy and then 33 rounds of radium.

I'm just so happy now to have my energy back, to be able to do more day by day. I’m back running, and all good… thanks be to god.

Jennifer Hartrey

Jen lives in Tramore with her husband Adrian and two sons David and Kane, who are the lights of her life as she says. She works here in Redlane as our office manager, calling her colleagues the craziest, most loyal friends a girl could wish for. And we love her too!

2 years ago, at the age of 35, she discovered a small lump in her left boob. It was a hectic time for us in work and she very nearly didn't follow it up. But after having a bit of a word with herself, she booked in with her GP who, while he wasn't overly concerned, sent her onto Ardkeen.

Initially everyone - her GP, the consultant, and especially herself, thought it was a cyst.. but thankfully they decided to see the process through. Nothing showed on a mammogram, so they scanned her, and two tumors were eventually discovered.

To say I was blown away doesn't even come close to what I felt hearing those words.

Thankfully after two operations, chemo and radiotherapy, things are looking good for me. It's been a long road and I am very grateful to be here to share my story.

Gillian Jacob

Gillian is 37 yo and from Waterford, but has lived in Tramore for 13 years with husband Trevor and daughter Lily Mae.

Back in 2012, when she was just 32, she found a lump in her left breast. Not overly concerned, as she'd just had her daughter the year before and figured it was her boddy settling itself, she left it go for a few weeks. But then she began to feel pain and discomfort, so she went to her GP who referred her to the Breast Clinic in Waterford, where she had a biopsy. A few days later she was shocked to hear it confirmed as stage 2 HER 2 positive breast cancer.

After a lumpectomy, Gillian was advised she needed a mastectomy, and then had 17 rounds of chemotherapy - a treatment every 3 weeks for a full year.

I remember at the start of my treatment thinking will this ever end, but eventually got used to it, and even began to love going out and meeting the people, listening to their stories (not getting the chemo though!) I made great friends going through my treatment, some of them sadly are not with us today. That's why it was important to be involved in this project - just celebrating life and making people aware. It's 5 years in now for me, and I'm finally off all my medication and cancer free!