Cancer survivor Jo takes on the pink walk

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Barbara McMahon, Jo O'Connell and Nicola Wood gearing up for 10km Pink Ribbon Walk
Barbara McMahon, Jo O’Connell and Nicola Wood gearing up for 10km Pink Ribbon Walk

 

BALLINA woman who overcame breast cancer will join up to 1,000 people on the fourth annual 10k Pink Ribbon walk this Sunday.

Jo O’Connell will take part in the Killaloe event, which has raised over €215,000 for Action Breast Cancer.

In 2008, the mother-of-four remembers feeling “very tired” before she discovered “a hard ridge” on one breast.

After a biopsy, doctors confirmed the former special needs nurse and Montessori teacher had stage two breast cancer. She was advised that the best option was a mastectomy.

A few weeks after surgery, she began her gruelling six sessions of chemotherapy and had two blood transfusions. Her treatment included 18 doses of the anti-cancer drug Herceptin. Then her hair started to fall out.

“I thought I was prepared for this, but when I saw big bunches of hair coming out, I have to say I found it frightening. But the staff in Marbles hair salon in Limerick were marvellous. They take you to a private room and shave the head. They have a variety of wigs to choose from,”she said.

Four years on, Jo is now preparing for breast reconstruction surgery and her hair has grown back.
“Surviving cancer has made me more appreciative of life and what I have. I’d advise anyone who has any concerns to have it checked out. Breast cancer is treatable and there are better treatments now than ever before,”she said.

The Killaloe Pink Ribbon Walk is run by volunteers and every cent goes directly to Action Breast Cancer

“One in 10 women in Ireland will get breast cancer in their lifetime.The walk is not just another 10km.  It is a day of remembrance and solidarity to fight the fight against Breast Cancer,” said Jo.

To register see  www.pinkribbonwalk.ie