Saturday 1 October 2016

Mairead Ronan on breast cancer: 'Don't put off seeing a doctor, my mum did and now she's not here'

Published 10/10/2015 | 13:21

Mairead Ronan - Silver Dress: French Connection €95
Mairead Ronan - Silver Dress: French Connection €95

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicks off, broadcaster Mairead Ronan urges people to get checked out.

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The RTE presenter revealed that her late mum Maureen held off getting a lump checked out.

The Finglas native was only 20 years old when she lost her beloved mum

"It was 1998 so it seems like a whole lifetime ago now," the broadcaster told the Irish Daily Mail's YOU Magazine.

Mairead Ronan
Mairead Ronan

"She kept it from me because she didn't want to worry me. She said, 'We're just going to do a little bit of investigating on it, don't worry.'"

"She looked so well, she looked so healthy. My mum had probably never looked so good. She was very fit and very glam," Mairead recalled.

Maureen had a full masectomy, chemotheraphy and radiation, as the family hoped that was the end of it.

"I suppose I never thought anything else was going to happen," Mairead said.

The happy couple: Mairéad with her husband Louis Ronan at their wedding in Ballyclerihan, Co Tipperary
The happy couple: Mairéad with her husband Louis Ronan at their wedding in Ballyclerihan, Co Tipperary

"I did think that was the end of it. Maybe I was naive or maybe it was just that I was so young."

Maureen did recover from the operations and therapy,  and celebrated her 60th birthday with her close knit family and friends.

Mairead even took her mum on holidays to Cyprus to mark the occasion.

However, the invasive disease returned and Maureen found another lump and began the ritual of hospital scans and checkups all over again. When it was revealed that the cancer had spread to her bones, Maureen decided against further treatment.

Mairead Farrell & son Dara Fitzpatrick
Mairead Farrell & son Dara Fitzpatrick
Mairead Farrell

Maureen passed away in April 2001, the night before Mairead's 21st birthday party.

"My mother said, 'I have no interest in chemo, I have no interest in radiation treatment, at this stage I just want to be pain-free and I'm just going to go,'" Mairead told the publication.

"It's incredibly sad, it's been many years of feeling robbed of something," she added. "I've always felt like there's something missing and it's my mother. I've basically grown up without my mother - you need her more when you're 25, 26, 27 than you need her when you're ten or 12."

However Mairead is determined to remember the good years.

Mairead Farrell
Mairead Farrell

"I can't spend the rest of my life feeling hard done by. U have to look at the great things she did and the great things she brought into my life and the happy memories."

Maureen's tragic death has made Mairead more aware of her own body and health.

"i try to live by the example she had set - don' t be eating crap, don't drink loads, and never ever smoke."

Mairead Farrell & son Dara Fitzpatrick
Mairead Farrell & son Dara Fitzpatrick

In her mum's memory, Mairead is determined to raise awareness amongst young women.

"I want to raise awareness of women getting checked out, checking themselves, and also listening to their bodies. My mum knew something was wrong for a while before she went. So when you feel like that, do something about it - she should've gone earlier."

"I think people generally only go to the doctor when they feel ill - but spend the €50 go do it or go get scanned, because it's money well spent," she urged.

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