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Mairead's anguish at losing her beautiful mum on the eve of her 21st

POPULAR radio presenter Mairead Farrell has opened up about the loss of her mother to cancer on the eve of her 21st birthday.

Her mum Maureen was told she had breast cancer in 1999, and dealt with it bravely. "She had chemo and radiation and two tough, invasive operations," the Today FM star said.

She said that in 2000, "my beautiful mum looked her glamourous self again, and we all looked forward to celebrating her 60th birthday in July.

"The idea of a surprise party was floated by my sister Simone, but mam wanted to have a party herself," Mairead said.

"It was such a good night, and mam looked gorgeous," she recalled.

However, the cancer returned.

"A few months later my mam began to suffer with severe back pain. We just presumed she had pulled a muscle because she had returned to work a few months before," Mairead said.

"She looked too good to be sick. But cancer is an ugly disease that could win a gold medal in the hide and seek championships."

Mairead said that on December 22 that year, she got a phone call from her sister telling her she needed to go to the hospital. She had bad news about their mother.

"Cancer had returned to her bone with some spots showing on the liver," she said.

Mairead said that her mum had never smoked, and always exercised and ate well and drank very little.

Doctors wanted to start more treatment immediately but Maureen said no, Mairead revealed, writing on Her.ie.

"She knew that it had her, and she wanted to see out what time she had left as herself."

She said that her beautiful mother passed away on April 2, 2001, which was the eve of her 21st birthday.

She said: "Losing a parent that young leaves you feeling robbed and slightly resentful towards those who still have their parents around to enjoy special moments with. I've gone through one third of my life without her, but feel far too young to have experienced this."

Mairead was speaking out at the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month.