Woman fighting breast cancer says charity reminded her ‘it’s good to be alive’
By Eleanor McGillie
A MUM of two who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 has told a Northern Ireland charity that the wish granted to her family made her realise just how lucky she is to still be alive.
Roxanne Mallon, 29, and mum of Cora, 5, and Barra, 2, said she and her husband Paul have been through the mill over the past year because they had to face cancer head on.
Roxanne, who checked her breasts regularly, felt a lump in her right breast in January 2014. She immediately contacted her GP who told her, with no family history of cancer and her young age, that it could potentially be a cyst or blocked milk duct but she was referred to Belfast City Hospital anyhow. On March 1 she rang the hospital who made her an appointment on April 10.
Roxanne said: “I was sitting in the waiting room with three other women – all aged 29. We all had found lumps in our breasts. They were given the all clear but my lump had hardened so a sample was taken and sent away and unfortunately the results came back a few weeks later that I had Grade 2 cancer.
“My mum was with me. It was a day of shock and disbelief and knowing I had to go home and tell my husband was just awful.
“The cancer had spread into my lymph nodes and milk duct so my right breast had to be removed. Then I got lymphosema. I had undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy. My hair had fallen out and my skin on my shoulders had come away. But as a mum you just have to carry on. With a one-year-old in the house things don’t just stop. Everything had to go on as normal.”
Roxanne, who describes herself as a ‘very optimistic person’, said one of the hardest things was to tell her daughter Cora, who was then four, that she wasn’t able to fly so they had to cancel the two family holidays which they had been looking so forward to.
She said: “Cora had been so excited but I just had to explain that I wasn’t allowed to fly. She totally understood but I felt awful. I have been very positive throughout but sometimes you just need someone to pick you up now and then.
“My sister, who works for Homecare Independent Living, nominated us for an iCare Wish so as a family we could get away from cancer and enjoy family time together. The nomination was sent to Homecare’s charity, iCare. I couldn’t believe that there was a company out there who, out of the goodness of their hearts, raise money to grant wishes to people like ourselves. I just cried.
“We were granted an overnight stay in Derry City Hotel and got tickets to the pantomime. It was real family time. We all had such an amazing time but I remember thinking ‘it’s good to be alive’.
“Now, even though I am still suffering, I put my make-up and wig on and carry on as normal. There’s nothing else to do. Every day I feel positive but I urge women and men, no matter how young and healthy you are, to check yourself and if you are concerned get checked out by a doctor as soon as you can.”
iCare Wishes nominations are currently open again and will close on March 31. To nominate someone please contact a member of the iCare Committee.
Notes To Editor:
- Homecare Independent Living is a national leader in homecare provision offering services to clients enabling them to live independently. Services include domiciliary care, peripatetic and floating support services, nursing and continuing care services and housing services. The company employs 1,200 people and has offices in Armagh, Belfast, Magherafelt, Ballymena, Sligo, Dundalk and Dublin. The company has its own charity, iCare, which uses the power of its people to create a better world.
- For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379 | mgmpr.co.uk | Healthcare PR | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK