Sunday 23 November 2014

RTE journalist feared 'boring' others by telling cancer story

Published 14/04/2014 | 02:30

RTE reporter Evelyn O'Rourke and her mother Peigi O Ruairc at the Women in Media event in Ballybunion, Co Kerry
RTE reporter Evelyn O'Rourke and her mother Peigi O Ruairc at the Women in Media event in Ballybunion, Co Kerry

AUTHOR and RTE Radio reporter Evelyn O'Rourke, who battled breast cancer while pregnant with her second child, feared she would be "boring people" by telling her story.

The 42-year-old mother of two boys insists she's neither brave nor inspirational but was simply dealing with the dire situation she found herself in.

Ms O'Rourke was diagnosed with breast cancer just four days after discovering she was pregnant again. She endured invasive surgery and chemotherapy before giving birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy in February 2011.

At the time of her diagnosis, her oldest son Oisin, was only six months old.

She wrote about her experience in a memoir 'Dear Ross', based on a series of letters to her son, charting her journey from diagnosis.

Since the publication of the book, she receives emails from people every day saying the book had given them hope.

"I think I was very good at not being brave and asking for help and telling people, 'I need you now'," she said.

She also encouraged people to be more confident around other people who were sick.

"Every day when we came home from hospital there would be a pot of curry left on our door and every card and every lasagne helped," she said.

She was speaking at a Women in Media conference in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, where her mother Peigi comes from.

As a result of her experience she's now a "passionate campaigner" for cancer research, and is the patient advocate for ICORG – the all-Ireland cooperative clinical research group set up by her oncologist and senator, John Crown.

The event celebrates the contribution of women in the media and is dedicated to the memory of the late journalist Mary Cummins who came from the town of Ballybunion, and Maeve Binchy who holidayed there.

Irish Independent

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