Irish nurse Bebhinn (23) will return to work in the ward where she beat childhood leukaemia
A student nurse who survived childhood leukaemia will return to work in the ward where she was treated for cancer more than twenty years ago.
Bebhinn O’Dowd Lernihan (23) who was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was two-years-old will now return to University Hospital Galway to work in paediatric ward St. Bernadette’s.
“A few months ago I went back to the ward where I was treated in University Hospital Galway and it was lovely to see all of the amazing nurses who took such good care of me when I was younger,” said Bebhinn.
“I’m going back to the ward for to work for a few weeks next month as one of my placements and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s funny because one of the women who will be my mentor actually remembers me.
“I remember being with her when my doctors were giving my parents the leukaemia diagnosis so doing my placement there will be a real turn around.”
The 23-year-old from Ennis Co. Clare is studying to be a nurse in King’s College in London and said it was a career path inspired by the wonderful nurses who she encountered during her illness.
“Surprisingly I do remember a lot about that time even though I was so small when I was diagnosed,” she said.
“My experience with cancer has definitely played a role in me wanting to be a nurse. I’ve met such amazing people with such positive attitudes that have inspired me.
“Originally I did a Masters in Journalism in Galway but in the back of my mind I always knew that nursing is what I really wanted to do,” Bebhinn said.
Bebhinn’s experience with leukaemia recently inspired her to cut off her hair for the Little Princess Trust, a UK charity which makes wigs for chemotherapy patients.
“I met a patient who was coping with cancer and she mentioned to me that she had just got a wig. She told me how much it meant to her and how much confidence it gave her after she had lost her hair.
“I decided to donate my own hair to the Little Princess Trust. It’s such an amazing charity and an amazing thing to do.
“I suppose it allows teenagers who are going through a similar experience as I did to be allowed to be teenagers and not to worry so much about their appearance. It makes such a difference.
The student nurse revealed that the experience was all the more poignant as she was accompanied by her godmother who was with Bebhinn when she first cut her hair during her own chemotherapy.
“My godmother came with me to get my hair cut in the UK but it was lovely because she also came with me and my mum when I had my hair cut when I was going through chemotherapy so many years ago.
“When I was getting my hair cut a few weeks ago everyone was so nervous and my god mother was filming but when I turned around and smiled everyone was a bit relieved. My hair was just going to go to waste to it’s amazing that it will now go to help make a wig for someone battling this illness.
Bebhinn revealed that she’s had such a good response to a video which she posted to her Facebook page last week.
“So many people have got in contact with me after I posted the video and I guess the best thing that it has done has been to raise awareness. It takes more than just one ponytail to make one of these wigs and it really makes a difference to someone coping with cancer,” she said.
For more information on the Little Princess Trust visit www.littleprincesses.org.uk