Daffodil Day: ‘Breast Cancer gave me courage to fulfil my dreams’
Breast cancer survivor Stephanie Loughran (63), who is the face of the Daffodil Day campaign this year, has spoken about how her illness has made her stronger.
It helped give her the courage to tackle a ‘bucket list’ of ambitions, including getting married again and riding a Harley Davidson motorbike.
The lively grandmother from Newbridge, in Kildare, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2011 after hoping for months a persistent lump would go away .
“I was referred to St James’s Hospital and got great care there,” she said. Stephanie had an aggressive form of cancer and had the lump removed, followed by six months of chemotherapy and a course of radiotherapy.
“I really missed being able to go for a walk. I kept a diary and made a bucket list. The last one was to get married again. I met Tony two years ago and we married last year,” said Stephanie, who has two grown-up daughters from a previous marriage.
During the treatment, which would leave her very weak, Stephanie resolved to keep herself as busy as possible. “I would get up early every morning, light the fire and visit my lovely neighbours.”
She lost all her hair, but wore a pink wig on one of her hospital visits to cheer up other patients.
She dressed up as Santa on another occasion. Her treatment also involved a course of the drug Tamoxifen.
Stephanie is anxious to advise other women not to make the mistake she did in not keeping her appointments with Breastcheck, the free screening service, before she was diagnosed. She was busy looking after her sister but now realises how vital the screening is.
Stephanie also urges women to get any lumps checked out and not wait and hope they will disappear.
She is still working her way through her bucket list and her wish to meet comedian Brendan O’Carroll remains a big ambition.
“I have all his DVDs. He kept me laughing through my illness. I am determined to meet and thank him,” said Stephanie.
To support Daffodil Day call 1850 60 60 60 or text DAFF to 50300 to donate €4 to the campaign. Donations can be made online at www.cancer.ie or you can download the Daffodil Day app from app stores in Ireland.