Two inspirational local women helped spread a strong message of breast cancer awareness at a special McElhinneys event.
Orla Maguire and Jackie McGavigan were the special guests at an afternoon tea fundraiser at the Ballybofey department store on Wednesday 24th October.
Both women had overcome at different stages of life. Both had a positive and emotional story to tell.
Orla Maguire is the McElhinneys’ Breast Cancer Awareness Ambassador for 2018.
The young Dungloe woman was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks after her 30th birthday. She wrote about her experience on a blog called ‘My Right Tata’ as a way of telling her friends and other young women to check their ‘tatas’ regularly, no matter what age you are.
“My way of dealing with it was to be as positive as I could be and put my story out there on social media,” Orla told the ‘Think Pink’ attendees – some of whom were also breast cancer survivors.
Orla also shared her experience of having a mastectomy and getting her post-surgery bra.
Orla said she had never been measured for a bra in her life, but had a great service with Lorna Mc Ginley and Martina Gillespie in the lingerie department at McElhinneys.
Orla said: “I felt like I was any other woman getting fitted for a bra, it was just a different type of bra that I needed. I got two beautiful bras and I felt so good. I felt like it was a gift.”
Looking back, Orla said she was happy with her decision to have a mastectomy, which was soon followed by some very welcome news.
“Two weeks later I got great news back from histology, they had got all the cancer. I was free to live my life again. I could go back to being 30, even though I was nearly 31 then!” Orla said.
Orla was joined by McElhinneys staff member Jackie McGavigan, who had breast cancer 11 years ago. The style consultant from Burt was eager to tell everyone that life does continue after cancer.
Jackie discovered a small lump by chance on Christmas night in 2007. She was almost too busy to get it checked, she said, but now she stresses the importance of women paying attention to their own bodies.
Jackie said: “If I can get one person to examine themselves and get a lump seen to if they find something, then my job is done.”
She added: “It was my every waking thought 11 years ago when I felt the lump, but I really have to struggle to think about it now. It goes to show you that there is life after cancer.
“Life does begin as normal again, it is different, but you will find joy again, you will laugh again, you will complain again. Most importantly, every day you get up is a great day because you are still here. We are the lucky ones.”
Expert fitter Lorna Mc Ginley outlined the key steps of the McElhinneys Breast Care services and demonstrated how to do a self-check.
Women who have undergone breast surgery can get fitted for bras and find the perfect breast form for their shape with the help of the fully-trained team at McElhinneys. The store offers a professional and personal fitting service in a private space.
This year’s Think Pink afternoon tea was held to generate extra awareness of breast cancer and to raise funds for Cancer Care West.
Grainne McGettigan, Donegal fundraiser for Cancer Care West, attended the event to outline the many support services the charity offers to patients and families affected by all forms of cancer.
Generous donations were collected for Cancer Care West by McElhinneys at the event, through raffle entries, contributions towards the sweet treats and a bucket collection running in-store this October.
To donate to Cancer Care West or to find more information about free services locally, visit www.cancercarewest.ie.
See more photos from the 2018 Think Pink afternoon tea below:
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