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Ireland Cork mum and breast cancer survivor brands diagnosis 'a gift'

21:00  02 february  2020
21:00  02 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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a young girl standing next to a forest: Cancer sufferer Helena O'Brien with Abigail © Provided by Irish Mirror Cancer sufferer Helena O'Brien with Abigail

A single mum and breast cancer survivor has branded her diagnosis “a gift” and is now inspiring others with her 100 Days Of Walking.

Ahead of World Cancer Day on Tuesday, Helena O’Brien from Bandon, Co Cork, used Lego to explain her lumpectomy to her daughter.

The 40-year-old works as an award-winning marketing manager at the Montenotte Hotel and is bringing up five-year-old Abigail by herself.

In May last year, Helena was diagnosed with breast cancer after noticing a change in her nipple, which had dimpled.

The marketing manager went to her GP and was then referred to the Bon Secour Hospital in Cork where she had two lumpectomies, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

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Jackie Holscher, 33, was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in May, just weeks after she gave birth to her daughter, Genevieve. Holscher breastfed until her diagnosis and was saddened when she realized she would not be able to any longer. She immediately enlisted the help of her best friend

Learn more about living as a breast cancer survivor including information about next steps, answers to many questions, and tips on follow up care. Brand Metrics Sweden AB. Whether you are living with cancer or living after cancer , many women have questions and concerns about life as a survivor .

Helena said: “I remember going down for surgery the first time and I was hysterical because it just hit me, really there and then that I had breast cancer, and I was about to go for an operation – 39 years of age with a four-and-a-half-year-old little girl.

“My whole life was ahead of me and I wanted to walk her up the aisle on the day of her wedding.

“I had all these plans and I was like, ‘Well, this is all going on hold now. Why did this all have to go on hold?”

Helena struggled with knowing how to tell her young daughter about everything she was going through.

In the end, Lego bricks and Abigail herself provided the answers.

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Helena said: “We built a tower out of the bigger pieces of Lego.

“On top of the tower there was one white piece of Lego and I remember thinking, ‘That looks like a nipple.’

“I sat down and I said to Abigail, ‘Mummy has been to the doctor. I’m sick and I need an operation’. And she said, ‘Well, what do you need to do?’

“And I said, ‘See this dimple in my nipple? And she said, ‘Yeah’. And I said, ‘Do you see the Lego? Like the Lego, the doctor’s going to take away the nipple’.”

“And she said, ‘Oh, so it’s like taking this piece of Lego off’.

"It was also Abigail who came up with a positive way of talking about chemotherapy, which she referred to as “mummy’s magic medicine”.

Helena said she decided to look upon her cancer diagnosis as a gift, adding: “Cancer doesn’t care who you are, where you come from, what you do, what your responsibilities are.

“I was a woman almost at the peak of my career. I had won a national award with the Irish Hospitality Institute for sales and marketing manager of the year.

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Take care when buying a gift for a breast cancer survivor ; your best intentions may unintentionally make her feel worse.Here are some gifts We don' t know what causes most breast cancers , and you don' t want to come off as implying that she needs to eats healthier than she was before her diagnosis .

a person standing posing for the camera: Cancer sufferer Helena O'Brien © Provided by Irish Mirror Cancer sufferer Helena O'Brien

“I had a beautiful daughter, a gorgeous home and my daughter was due to be starting school. I remember saying to my mum, ‘Pinch me because I feel so good’. And within a few weeks I was diagnosed.

“But I remember saying, ‘This will not kill me. It will not define me. It will make me stronger’."

When Helena decided to shave her head, she went to the salon, along with her daughter, mum and aunt.

There, she picked out a wig that looked like her own hair.

She said: “At home, I kept the wig in the wardrobe because Abigail was taking it and putting it on her teddy bears.

“So every time someone would say to her, ‘Why does your mummy have no hair? Abigail would reply, ‘She does. It’s just in the wardrobe’."

Helena said having health insurance gave her a huge sense of relief and helped her focus on getting healthy.

As part of her renewed efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle, she is now taking part in the 100 Days Of Walking, Dr Ciara Kelly’s challenge to walk for at least 30 minutes a day for 100 days.

Ms O’Brien began the challenge on January 2 – just 13 days after she completed her radiotherapy.

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Breast cancer survivor gayl walder. “I found out I had the BRCA gene after my mother I was fortunate to receive a gift , the gift of knowledge and choice. I had the option to act, so I decided on This diagnosis changes you. You start listening to people more. My daughter Katie was a huge

She is now inspiring hundreds of people on social media to get fit.

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