Rose of Tralee hopeful Elysha Brennan: 'I sat the Leaving Cert with cancer, I can do this'
A brave Rose of Tralee hopeful has opened up about beating cancer as a teenager.
Elysha Brennan (22) was just a teenager when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma weeks before her Leaving Cert began.
She is currently studying medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons and said that competing in the pageant as the Meath Rose is high on her bucket list.
Brennan had repeated sixth year in order to receive enough points to study medicine and said she had "put everything" into her studies for the months before the Leaving Cert.
"When I was told I had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation straight away, I was more upset about the exams than the diagnosis because I really had just put my life on hold for a year to study," she said.
"I sat the exams in a complete blue but when devastating news comes like that, you get a sort of clarity. This is what I had to do and while I had no control over the cancer, I knew I had some control over the exams. I reckoned I could come out of the Leaving Cert and go into my next battle, knowing I gave it my best shot."
Four days after finishing her exams, Elysha began intensive rounds of chemotherapy in addition to 15 radiation sessions and said it was being offered the medicine course that "got her through" the dark days of her treatment.
"It's going to take a lot to take me down, I've too much to live for," she said proudly with her cancer in remission for two years.
Now, Elysha hopes to land a place in the Rose of Tralee final, a feat no other Meath Rose has achieved before her.
"It's always been on my bucket list to be a Rose and the experience so far has been amazing," she added. "Anything more will be a bonus."