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Daffodil Day: 'Cancer can come knocking at any time,' says brave Shannen

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Mother’s love: Shannen Joyce says her daughter Róisín (3) has been her ‘driving force’

Mother’s love: Shannen Joyce says her daughter Róisín (3) has been her ‘driving force’

Mother’s love: Shannen Joyce says her daughter Róisín (3) has been her ‘driving force’

A young mother who is a two-time cancer survivor is the face of the 2020 Daffodil Day campaign.

Shannen Joyce (25), from Youghal, Co Cork, captured the hearts of thousands when she was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma aged 19 and shared her journey on social media.

Speaking at the launch of the Irish Cancer Society's Daffodil Day, she recalled her first diagnosis.

"Back then it was all about me.

"I had to drop out of college, I couldn't go on nights out," she said.

"My hair falling out felt like the end of the world."

Having defeated the illness once, she was diagnosed again aged 24 after becoming a mother to her daughter Róisín, who she says was her "driving force".

"At the time of my second diagnosis I was a mother myself and my fear was not for myself but for my little girl.

"It was gut-wrenching to miss out on time with her when I was having treatment, or when I was too unwell to do everyday things like dress her.

"But Róisín was also my driving force - the reason I got out of bed each day," Ms Joyce added.

She said she wants people to know that cancer does not discriminate on the basis of gender or age.

"Cancer can come knocking on anyone's door at any time," she said.

Daffodil Day, supported by Boots Ireland, is the Irish Cancer Society's annual fundraising drive and the proceeds raised contribute towards free services.

These include counselling, Night Nurse, the Volunteer Driver Service and Survivor Support.

The drive this year supported by retailer Boots and the society aims to raise €4m. Averil Power, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society, said Ms Joyce was a "wonderful advocate".

"Every three minutes somebody like Shannen receives a cancer diagnosis in Ireland and the number of people getting cancer is growing. She is an inspirational young woman and a wonderful advocate.

"We are very lucky to have Shannen using her voice to fight for people and families affected by cancer," she added.

You can get involved at cancer.ie.

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Irish Independent