By Olivia Kelleher
Cancer survivor Majella O'Donnell has revealed that her husband Daniel wanted to cancel his tours to support her during her treatment while as she urged women to avail of the Breastcheck service, insisting that screening in all areas should occur from the "minute you become an (adult) women and continue to the day you die."
Speaking at the opening of a new service in Youghal, Co Cork for individuals impacted by cancer Majella said that she had lost count of the number of women she had spoken to who felt "perfectly well" and then went for a mammogram and found an irregularity.
The author and television personality has called on members of the public to continue to use cancer screening services in Ireland in spite of the cervical smear controversy.
"Don’t let that affect your view of these services. Some cases may have slipped through but it shouldn’t mean that everybody stops doing it because of course it is going to save a lot of people. It's going to save a lot more than will fall through the net."
Majella said when she was diagnosed with breast cancer it was tough on her husband, singer Daniel O'Donnell, because he wanted to cancel his tours to support her.
However, her preferred method of handling the news was "to be left alone to get on with it."
She said he did what was best for her because she told him: "Please go out to work."
"That was I wanted and that for me was how he supported me . . . by doing what was best for me."
She says women should be mindful of any changes in their breasts whether its a dimple, a lump or an inverted nipple.
Majella stresses that she is very appreciative of her health following her brush with serious illness.
"I am very grateful for every day and for years that I'm getting after it but it never leaves your mind that it could come back that is always there any time you feel anything."
She said she changed her lifestyle for a while but was "bloody miserable." She has cut down on alcohol and exercises regularly but isn't "stupidly healthy."
"I lead a reasonably healthy life but I'm not going to not eat a lovely iced bun or drink a nice glass of wine because I think I might get cancer again."
Meanwhile, close to 100 people have already availed of the Cork ARC Cancer Support House in East Cork, which is supported the Trustees of Cuan House, Emer Casey Foundation, Alcon Laboratories and a wide range of donors, suppliers, visitors and community partners.
Located at Friar Street in Youghal, and run by the Cork ARC Cancer Support House, the new centre provides free drop-in and telephone support services, counselling, therapeutic massage, reflexology, yoga, pilates and art therapy for cancer patients and their families.
Cork ARC Cancer Support House Chief Executive Aileen O’Neill said the centre is a special place where those affected by cancer can receive valuable support, through a diverse range of services.
"It is of paramount importance to us that our services are free of charge, confidential and absolutely discreet."
With a team of more than 12 volunteers and professionals, Cork ARC Cancer Support House in Youghal is open every Wednesday from 10am to 4pm.
Cork ARC Cancer Support House continue to raise funds to provide their vital services, which are designed to complement the medical model and aim to alleviate the stress associated with a cancer diagnosis. For more information visit www.corkcancersupport.ie