Saturday 3 December 2016

Living with cancer: Orla is now gearing up for college

Published 12/09/2015 | 02:30

Orla Jackman
Orla Jackman

Five years ago, she was diagnosed with cancer. But yesterday, Orla Jackman went to her debs and is looking forward to starting college.

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It has been a tough road for the survivor, who was told she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on February 9, 2010.

She spent over two years in St John's ward in Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin, with her parents Ronan and Maire at her side.

But Orla (18) - from Tullow, Co Carlow - is looking forward to returning to the capital as she is due to start in St Patrick's College next week.

"I was on an intense treatment for the first six months so I was up in the hospital up to four times a week," she said. "I would be in theatre nearly every week or two getting lumbar punctures and chemo in my back. Then, in August, I started maintenance.

"To get to maintenance is very good because you are not in the hospital as much. You might be up once a month for chemo.

"You would be administrating at home too through tablets. And I'd only be down in theatre once a month, which was a huge change as well. I was on maintenance up until May 2012. It was tough, I was open to a lot of infection. I got glandular fever, swine flu, the shingles, everything that went nearly."

Orla is now cancer-free, however, and six months ago she had her last check-up in the hospital.

Tomorrow, she will host the third annual 'Cycle with Orla for Crumlin' event in her home town.

This cycle is supported by Irish rugby star Sean O'Brien and is a fundraiser for Crumlin. And through a variety of events over the past four years, Orla's family and friends have raised €85,000.

Irish Independent

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