Vicky Phelan to be Grand Marshall at Kilkenny's St Patrick's Day parade

Cancer awareness campaigner Vicky Phelan is to be Grand Marshal for the St Patrick’s Day parade in Kilkenny.

Originally from Kilkenny, the mother of two rose to national prominence due to lifting the lid on how hundreds of smear tests had been misdiagnosed as part of the national CervicalCheck programme.

Since the scandal last year she has since gone on to become one of the lead voices, in the campaign over the mishandling of 221 cases in which several women have died.

The 44-year-old’s campaign for recognition of the mishandling of cases of women affected by the cervical cancer scandal, and in fighting for proper treatment for those suffering as a result, has meant that scores are now able to access the treatment she is receiving.

Ms Phelan, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer started receiving the “wonder drug” Pembrolizumab last year.

Chairperson of the Kilkenny St. Patrick’s Day Community and Fianna Fáil councillor Joe Malone said: “Cancer has hit most of our families in some way but the trauma experienced by Vicky and the hundreds of others so cruelly misdiagnosed has shocked the nation.”

He described Ms Phelan as a leading light in the CervicalCheck scandal, adding that her articulate, clear and positive leadership was a “beacon of hope for many.”

"Vicky has been the leading light in this campaign and has inspired so many by her articulate, clear and positive leadership.

"She is not afraid to call out the powers that be on their failings but is also a beacon of positive hope for so many, even in the toughest of times."

“We look forward to the people of the city and county giving her a huge black and amber round of applause and appreciation as she travels through the city at the head of our parade."

She has received numerous awards, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Limerick and was recently named by the BBC as one of the 100 most inspiring women in the world.

On her home turf, a special civic reception was held in her honour by Kilkenny County Council where she was named Kilkenny Person of the Year.

Ms Phelan now lives in Annacotty, Co Limerick.

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