Home-grown reality dominates RTÉ2

It was not the cancer diagnosis that floored RTÉ broadcaster Louise McSharry, it was the impact that chemotherapy would have on her fertility.

McSharry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year and she charts her personal battle with the illness in a new documentary to be screened by RTÉ2 called F**k Cancer.

The one-hour observational Reality Bites documentary shows the 2FM DJ becoming emotional after finding out that most of her eggs have been destroyed.

McSharry, 32, married her partner, Gordon Sperrin, in Cork this summer, and the documentary, which will be screened on September 17, takes the viewer on her cancer journey.

Filming started last September and finished at the end of August.

“The high point for me was when I talked about my cancer journey on my wedding day —looking back and feeling like it was over,” she said yesterday.

But a low point was finding out out about the effect chemotherapy had on her fertility: “That was really hard. In many ways it was more difficult than a cancer diagnosis for me personally.

“Every woman is different. But I have always wanted to have children so hearing that might not happen for me naturally was difficult.”

McSharry, who attended RTÉ2’s new season launch in Dublin yesterday, said it had not been possible for her to freeze her eggs before the cancer treatment. She hopes that one of the few eggs she has left will work for her and, for now, is not considering IVF or adoption.

“I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it — it won’t be for another year and a half or so,” she said. “They have to give my body time to recover and get back in shape and make sure I can’t do it the old-fashioned way first.”

McSharry said the producer-director of the documentary, Aoife Stokes, approached her to do the documentary because she wanted her to share her story of fighting cancer.

“I really believe in shared experience. People can feel very alone in difficult times so I decided to suck it up and do it,” she said.

F**k Cancer is one of 20 new episodes of the hard-hitting Reality Bites strand. Another episode — Nine Stone Lighter, follows Jules Coll through her life-changing gastric band surgery

RTÉ2 has increased home-production with more than 30 series and 18 documentaries for the new season.

Other highlights include the Rubberbandits Guide to 1916 and an Irish version of the hit international format, First Dates.

Baz Ashmawy will explore his Muslim heritage in a new documentaries series, The Lost Muslim, while Niall Breslin will demonstrate the link between physical exercise and positive mental health in Bressie’s Iron Mind.

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