Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Mum died of cancer, I survived, now my dad has it' - RTÉ's Aine Lawlor

Aine Lawlor at the ‘Give Us A Song!’ campaign launch yesterday in Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green, to raise funds for the Caroline
Foundation for Cancer Research. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Aine Lawlor at the ‘Give Us A Song!’ campaign launch yesterday in Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green, to raise funds for the Caroline Foundation for Cancer Research. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

RTÉ cancer survivor Aine Lawlor has revealed that her father is now battling the disease.

The 'Morning Ireland' presenter is in recovery following her 2011 diagnosis with breast cancer, which saw her undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy along with a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

Aine with Prof John Crown, Miriam O’Callaghan and members of Piccolo Lasso Children’s Choir. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Aine with Prof John Crown, Miriam O’Callaghan and members of Piccolo Lasso Children’s Choir. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The well-known broadcaster (51) said that sometimes you "have to have hope" that things will work out for the best.

"Cancer has never left my life. My dad's got cancer at the moment. I've a friend who's recovering from her second bout of leukaemia and is thriving.

"I have other friends who are sick and I've other friends who have died but it doesn't mean I'm depressed all the time about it. It just means I'm determined. I think I'm very lucky," she said.

Aine, who lost her mother to breast cancer in 1985, said her father had overcome several health battles in the past and she was trying to stay positive.

Miriam O’Callaghan with Molly Beasley (5) at the campaign launch. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Miriam O’Callaghan with Molly Beasley (5) at the campaign launch. Photo: Gerry Mooney

"He's an elderly man and he's a paraplegic and he's had strokes and he's survived an awful lot.

"This one at the moment looks a bit nasty but we have to see how it goes. He's very brave," she said.

"You have to have hope and sometimes you just have to have fortitude too but it reminds you every day why it's important to do things like this."

The mother of four was in St Stephen's Green yesterday helping to promote an event in aid of the Caroline Foundation, which helps fund cancer research.

She was diagnosed in 2011 with HER2-positive breast cancer, which tends to be an aggressive strain.

She underwent a clinical trial at St Vincent's Hospital and was prescribed a trial drug that was effective with her particular kind of cancer.

She subsequently made a two-part documentary on her health journey, called 'Facing Cancer', and is a big advocate of cancer research.

"I want people to be able to benefit from medicine the way I did - because even if it's only extra time, it's so precious to people. None of us are ready to give up quite yet," she said.

"I love my life. I love every second of the time I've been given but I'm really conscious that I depended on new medicines.

"It was just random that those medicines had come along at the time that I got sick. We still need more new medicines."

She said there was "tremendous research" being done in Ireland into the disease but cancer was constantly evolving so the medicine needed to keep changing too.

"I've huge hope and the doctors and the researchers are so clever and there's so much commitment. I think it's just about keeping up the effort."

The 'Give Us A Song!' campaign is calling on music lovers to organise a sponsored performance over the weekend of February 4, World Cancer Day, to drum up funds for the organisation.

Lawlor was joined at the event by fellow RTÉ broadcaster Miriam O'Callaghan, who lost her younger sister Anne to cancer when she was 32, leaving two young children behind.

"I've been involved with the Caroline Foundation for quite a number of years," she said.

"Obviously, it's set up in memory of a beautiful woman who died very young from cancer, similar to my own sister. And her family set this up to raise funds. It's got a really good practical purpose. It raises funds to help research into cancer, so I think you can see what it achieves."

Irish Independent

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