Ciara O'Donnell

Ciara O'Donnell

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at the age of 41 and began a journey into the unknown. I attended one of the specialist breast centres and underwent a mastectomy, eight cycles of chemotherapy and 25 sessions of radiotherapy. As all the expertise I needed relating to my particular cancer was located in one place I had great confidence in the people looking after me and the information they were imparting. During my treatment I was matched up with a social worker, breast care nurse, oncology liaison nurse, consultants and their respective teams. I can’t speak highly enough of the staff and the care I received. They all helped to demystify the experience and help me to overcome my fears and even today I feel I can contact them if I have any questions.

I met Dympna Watson in 2011 when I attended a Europa Donna Ireland information evening. The talk was on the importance of exercise in preventing and managing lymphoedema which, having had lymph nodes removed, was of particular interest to me.

Over the next year, I became involved with Europa Donna Ireland and found that, as one of 46 member countries of EUROPA DONNA - The European Breast Cancer Coalition, we have access to the most up to date information. Educating myself about breast cancer helps me to understand what happened to me and to manage my fears. It also helps me to communicate more effectively with my medical team, from GP to hospital staff.

In 2013 I was asked to become a committee member and I was delighted to accept. I enjoy volunteering my time as treasurer, working with Europa Donna Ireland members as we continue to advocate for the gold standard in breast cancer care.

Ciara O’Donnell