Wednesday 17 October 2018

'It was a traumatic experience' - Tracey Kennedy on how GAA helped her through cancer

The first female chair of Cork County Board, Tracey Kennedy talks about leading the way for women in GAA and her battle with cancer.

Tracey Kennedy. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Tracey Kennedy. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

Rachel Farrell

Cork County Board chairperson Tracey Kennedy has opened up about her "traumatic" experience with cancer and how the GAA helped her battle through it.

In 2015, Kennedy (43) was diagnosed with cervical cancer shortly after going for her smear test in January 2015.

"It was a pretty traumatic experience, but I was pretty lucky and looking back now I see how lucky I was, because I was diagnosed at a very early stage," Kennedy said.

"I had surgery in September of 2015, but luckily progressing well."

The diagnosis came shortly after being appointed Vice Chair of the Cork GAA board, but the Killeagh native has since become the first female chair of the Cork County Board- the second female chair in the country.

It was her involvement with the GAA that helped her cope with the difficult time, describing the support from the GAA community as "wonderful". 

"My involvement with the GAA, as I think it has been at other difficult times in my life, was a wonderful thing," she said.

"I still have a box of well wishes at home – they were sent to me by members of the GAA community at the time and again highlights the good that being involved with the GAA can be, even at a very difficult time in your life."

While the topic can be difficult to talk about, Kennedy believes speaking out will help others who can't.

"I’m quite comfortable speaking about it and I know there are many women out there who have suffered cancer experiences who are not comfortable speaking about it. 

"So, I feel that I should as much as I can." 

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