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Sunday 22 October 2017

I got the best result -- cancer all-clear

Linda McGrory

WHEN you've lost one of your kidneys to cancer, sitting the Leaving Certificate isn't such a big deal.

Shauna O'Connor (18), from Co Donegal, has already got the result she wants -- the all-clear from cancer.

She was diagnosed with a large, aggressive tumour on her right kidney in October 2008 at the age of 15.

"I associated cancer with elderly people. One of my first thoughts was about losing my long hair," said the bubbly teen, who lives in Illies, near Buncrana, with mum Ailish, dad William and brother Patrick (17).

"Some of the chemo sessions lasted five days. I was so sick, I couldn't have managed the long hair anyway," she said.

"The cancer was also in the main blood vessel and within about two weeks it had spread to my right lung."

She had to endure six gruelling chemotherapy sessions at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, to halt the spread of the disease. She then had the cancerous kidney removed.

She received the "brilliant" news that she was cancer-free on March 20.

Shauna lost an entire school year at Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana, to her illness and never sat the Junior Cert. As a result, the Leaving Cert is her first major exam. She hopes to study nursing.

"I know I am very lucky to have got through the cancer. When things have been touch and go, it puts exams in perspective."

Irish Independent

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