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 and Jackie McGavigan at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

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 Maguire and her mum Liz at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

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.”

Orla Maguire and Jackie McGavigan at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

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.”

Jackie Mc Gavigan and Orla Maguire at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

Lorna Mc Ginley from the Lingerie/Prosthesis department at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

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.

McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

Niamh Phelan, Ruth Callaghan and Lorna Mc Ginley at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

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.

Grainne McGettigan (Cancer Care West Donegal fundraiser) and Nuala Murphy at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

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: 

Natasha Dunphy, Emma Murray, Jackie McGavigan, Orla Maguire, Maria Rushe, Rachel McLaughlin and Erin McGinty at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

Eileen Doherty and Carmel Crossan at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

Cate Browne and Nuala Allan at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

Linda Orr and Jean Wylie at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

Erin McGinty (@coolestplaceontheplanet) at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

Natasha Dunphy (Passion by Natasha) and Emma Murray (The Fashion Chair) at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

Hamper raffle for Cancer Care West at the McElhinneys Think Pink Afternoon Tea

Do you have an upcoming event you’d like to see on DonegalWoman.ie? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]