Thursday 19 September 2019

'I'm looking forward to going back to being a normal 20 year old' - Rose celebrates all clear after 12 rounds of chemo

Donegal Rose Chloe Kennedy. Picture Andres Poveda
Donegal Rose Chloe Kennedy. Picture Andres Poveda
20/08/2019 Dáithi Ó Sé introduces all 32 hopeful Roses for the first time ahead of this years Rose of Tralee television show. Kayla is pictured in the purple dress at front centre. Picture Andres Poveda
Daithi Ó Sé. Picture: Andres Poveda

Kirsty Blake Knox and Aoife Kelly

The road to Tralee comes as welcome relief to Chloe Kennedy.

The Donegal Rose (20) was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkins Lymphoma last September.

She underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy to treat her cancer. She finished her treatment in April of this year and recently received the all clear.

Hodgkins Lymphoma is a blood cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. It is most common in teenagers and young adults.

"It's one of the most treatable types of cancer so I'm very lucky considering."

Chloe studies Psychology in Maynooth University and took a year off from her studies to undergo treatment.

"Looking back, I might have been able to go to college, but we decided it was better I just take the year and focus my energy on just getting better," she said.

"I was very lucky, I would have had a good week and a bad week so during my good weeks I would just carry on as normal. I went to see my friends in college and just got on with life.

"That’s all you can really do. Things are as good as you want them to be. If you let yourself see the good in a situation it will become good, that’s what I believe."

Competing in the Rose of Tralee gave her something to look forward during treatment.

"[It] was something to direct my focus towards. When I got the selection [for Donegal] I was really looking forward to going there and meeting all the girls.

"It was a great night in The Abbey [Hotel] in Donegal Town. When I actually got it [Donegal Rose] it was just like being in a bubble. It didn’t feel real.

"I just felt so lucky. At the start I was questioning, I was like, 'I’m so young, why am I here?' But I just have to trust the process and trust this is what I’m meant to be doing.

Chloe will return to college after the festival and cannot wait to resume her studies.

"I can’t wait, I'm absolutely buzzing. After this too. I’m just really, really looking forward to it. College is my home away from home.

"I love Maynooth and just to see my friends again, I can’t wait. They were so good to me throughout everything. I went and visited them a few times too. Yeah, so just looking forward to going back to being a normal 20 year old".

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