A Donegal woman diagnosed with breast cancer this year has spoken of the importance of preserving local services for patients across the northwest.

Jacqui Coyle from Burt has largely completed her treatment, she is keen to promote the North West Breast Centre as a gem on our doorstep.

Jacqui said how important it is not to take the centre for granted.

“Breast cancer is definitely not the news that anyone wants to hear and it definitely brings a devastation to your family that only people who have been through this experience can truly identify with the hell that it is,” she said.

“But on the flip side of that, I can say hand on heart that I received the best care from all of the team at the Letterkenny Breast Care Centre. Their level of expertise, their absolute professionalism and how they made me feel so comfortable and so safe while I was going through my treatment is truly something that I will be forever grateful for.

“The fact that we have this gem right on our doorstep and so accessible for those who need it is something that we should never take for granted.”

Jacqui added: “I got great comfort from having my two surgeries at Letterkenny University Hospital on a day-case basis.”

Jacqui, who works in the pathology department at Letterkenny University Hospital, is well aware of how teams work together in the hospital.

When she became a patient, she realised how assuring that multi-disciplinary expertise is.

“There are so many people that contribute to your care and to your outcome and they are all so dedicated to what they do. The way I was treated by all the hospital staff was exceptional.”

A cancer diagnosis brings with it great levels of fear, Jacqui says, and it was this year that she realised how important it is to have family support.

Jacqui’s husband Pius and their children Mark (26), Maria (23) and Darragh (17) supported her throughout this worrying time.

“If I learned one thing from this journey I have learned to appreciate them more than I ever thought was possible. They are the people who are truly there for you, and they are the most affected by it all. All four of them were amazing,” she said.

Jacqui shared her story ahead of the annual Northwest Breast Cancer Charity Ball on Friday 1st December 2023. Money raised at the ball supports research at Breast Centre North West, including the employment of research fellows during the summer months. Research carried out at Breast Centre North West has been presented at national and international meetings.

Funds are also used to support patient comfort at the clinic as well as aspects of community care, including an outreach programme to those recovering from breast cancer.

Just a handful of tickets are left for the event at the stunning Silver Tassie Hotel, Letterkenny.

Ciara Doherty, a popular television presenter, and Mr Peter Barry, a renowned Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, will be joining as the special guests.

The upcoming event promises to be as thrilling as ever, with Red Alert providing the music and Noel Cunningham acting as the MC. The ticket price for the event has been held steady at an exceptional value of €50.00 per person, and the festivities will begin with a drinks reception at 7.15 p.m., followed by a delicious three-course meal and dancing.

Please book your ticket soon to avoid disappointment – All Tickets can be purchased at The Silver Tassie Hotel, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Telephone No. 074 91 25619.