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Episode 5 – Meet Juliette O’Connell

Juliette O’Connell was just 41-years-old when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, a chance check-up at the GP led to the unexpected news that threw her world upside down. The Limerick native admits she was simply not breast aware at the time, taking her health for granted and assuming that because she fit she was in good health.

Juliette is now an Outreach Coordinator with Breast Cancer Ireland, bringing important messages of good breast health to Transition Year Students, teachers as well as community groups and organisations throughout Munster. In this episode, Juliette shares her powerful story with Aisling and talks about the fact that she never thought, for one minute, that the rash she was ignoring for months would turn out to be breast cancer and very much more than a lump.

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Episode 4 – Meet Dara McDonough

Dara McDonough found a lump whilst in the shower one morning. In this episode, Dara tells a powerful story, from a male breast cancer patient perspective, of finding himself in the unfamiliar surroundings of the waiting room of the Breast Care Centre, feeling like something of an outsider amongst the women around him. Now a long-term supporter of the work of Breast Cancer Ireland, he’s helping to raise the profile of the disease amongst the male population at large – as many people still don’t realise this disease can affect anyone – of any age – not just females.

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Episode 3 – Meet Paula McClean

Paula McClean was getting ready for a family wedding, where her three little girls were flower girls, one summer evening in July. She was applying tan to her arm and chest area when she felt a lump. In today’s podcast Paula shares her story of being diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Breast Cancer at the age of just 42, she talks about what made her get that lump checked, her treatment journey and why the emotional scars remain with her to this day, over 11 years later.
Paula shares a really honest reflection on the trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis, the worries and anxieties it brings, even years later. She also chats to Aisling about how her love of fashion, running, and being part of a community of women who have travelled the same road as she has, has helped her, but most importantly Paula talks about how, as a mother of three little girls, who are now teenagers and young women, she is passionate about continued investment into breast cancer research. She wants to protect girls like her daughters and indeed future generations of Irish women, to make sure they survive and thrive, despite what life throws at them.

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Episode 2 – Meet Professor Arnie Hill

Professor Arnie Hill is the Chairman of Breast Cancer Ireland and Head of the School of Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He is a General Breast and Endocrine Surgeon and the national advisor for surgical oncology for the National Cancer Control Programme (under the direction of Professor Tom Kean). Aisling and Arnie first met when Aisling joined the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) as Director of Development. Over the past 15 years, and through the establishment of Breast Cancer Ireland as a charity in 2011, they have experienced many great advances. As the Lead Clinician in the new Breast Centre located on the Beaumont Hospital Campus, Arnie chats with Aisling about this ground-breaking new centre, which is due to open in the summertime which will cater for the over 10,000 cases presented each year.

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Episode 1 – Meet Emma Cassidy

Emma Cassidy is science and PE teacher whose life changed dramatically on June 27, 2017. Just 3 months after her 30th birthday, she was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, which came as a huge shock to Emma given there was no family history of the disease and incredibly none of the major symptoms associated with the disease. Instead, in the lead up to her diagnosis, Emma experienced what she describes as “overwhelming fatigue”, and in the absence of anything of any abnormalities showing up in her tests, Emma’s GP referred her to the Breast Clinic in Beaumont Hospital to get checked as a purely precautionary measure. Emma’s story is one of bravery and hope, culminating in much celebrated birth of her son Sam in late 2020.

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