A SCHOOL teacher who beat a life- threatening cancer has set her sights on representing Dublin in the Rose of Tralee.
Marie Cummins, from Rolestown in North Dublin, was diagnosed with a tumour two years ago and was given a 50/50 chance of surviving.
But after getting the all clear, brave Marie hopes to represent Dublin in this year's competition.
"Two years ago, I got really, really sick with a tumour in my ear and was given just a 50/50 chance to live," Marie told the Herald. "That made me really take a step back. I lost the hearing in my left ear and walking down the road I could lose the feeling in my left leg, it was a really slow spreading tumour.
"I was in my final year of college at the time and had seven consultants looking after me, pretty much telling me to slow down. But because I was in college, I wanted to finish my degree to at least have accomplished something. So I did.
"And getting the all-clear has given me a whole new perspective on life and I hope that I can inspire people, and make people realise that life really is a gift."
The 26-year-old teaches in Our Lady's College in Drogheda and says that after getting the all-clear in April last year, she entered the Rose of Tralee competition.
"I always watched the Rose of Tralee with my granddad and I think it was the same for all girls; it was part of the Irish trend, I think. I wanted to try to inspire young women because sometimes with all that goes on and worrying about life, they don't really realise how beautiful they are."
Marie's bid to become a rose would see her help Irish charity, Trocaire.
"I've picked Trocaire because my aunt works for them. She has lived in Pakistan for 12 years and has been working with Trocaire since Christmas," Marie said.
"It's a very different culture over there compared to what we're used to here and I always had the Trocaire boxes over the years, too. We're in a recession but there are a lot of people still in need.
"My family have been great, they've been really, really supportive of me. The girls in the school are really excited about it, too.