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Sunday 20 April 2014

To be honest, I forget I even had cancer, reveals TV host Keelin Shanley

Keelin Shanley on the set of ‘Morning Edition’ yesterday. Picture: STEVE HUMPHREYS
Keelin Shanley on the set of ‘Morning Edition’ yesterday. Picture: STEVE HUMPHREYS

BROADCASTER Keelin Shanley says her battle with breast cancer is now a distant memory.

The host of the state broadcaster's flagship breakfast show 'Morning Edition' surprised RTE viewers when she revealed she had been diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and undergone a mastectomy.

"I don't think about it any more," the award-winning RTE journalist told the Irish Independent. "To be honest, I forget I even had cancer.

"It's been three years since I was diagnosed. Obviously you always are aware of the residual risks, but I'm done and dusted with it."

Keelin has marked a year at the helm of RTE's early morning show 'Morning Edition'. "I can't believe it's a year – I really can't. The first day, we were all so nervous. We were all in at 5.15am on tenterhooks," she said.

"The early starts took some getting used to and by the time it got to June we were completely flattened. But we're a bit more relaxed this year, we've got the hang of it."

The mother of two admits juggling family life and a hectic career isn't easy. "It's been a steep learning curve over the year. Thanks to my husband Conor we're working through it. It was pretty traumatic at the beginning and I was so exhausted, but now we have it worked out."

Keelin says her children Lucy (5) and Ben (7) often complain about her demanding schedule.

"They do give out stink. 'Why are you always on Twitter?' 'Do we have to watch the news again?' That's the thing about this job – you're never really off.

"But it's like anything. You do it long enough, you get a routine going. Conor brings them to school every morning – and then the flip side to this job is that I pick them up every day."

And the show being beamed into living rooms around the country has boosted Keelin's profile considerably. When the TV host accidentally lost her wedding ring earlier this year, viewers were quick to sympathise.

In fact, a handful of convicts and drug users Keelin had previously interviewed rang her offering advice.

"A lot of people I would have interviewed for 'Primetime' – prisoners and drug users – were ringing me up saying, 'Have you tried this pawn shop and that pawn shop?'" she said. "And I was actually really touched by it all. I haven't found the ring but I still have the husband," she laughed.

Keelin spent 10 years working on 'Primetime', specialising in investigatory documentaries, before fronting 'Morning Edition', which is available on both RTE One and new digital news channel RTE News Now, Monday to Friday, 9 to 11am.

"'Primetime' was great but I really enjoy working on this show. It's very exciting when you go in and the producer says, 'Scrap everything, we're throwing everything out the window.'

"Then it becomes a bit of a white-knuckle ride and you're all thinking, 'God, I hope we make it to 11 o'clock.'"

Irish Independent

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