Majella O’Donnell and Siobhan Wallace Oglesby. Picture: Matt Britton
At the annual Cancer Ball in the Waterfront Hotel in Dungloe on Saturday night there was not a person in the room who had not been affected by the disease either personally or through family or friends.
Two longtime friends who were in the room, Majella O’Donnell and Siobhan Wallace Oglesby, shared one thing in common - they both had suffered from breast cancer.
“Through both our trials and tribulations we both supported each other and managed to keep us other positive,” Siobhan said.
Majella addressed the event about the nurses strike and the implications and urged the men and women of Donegal to join the nurses in a great gesture of solidarity on Tuesday morning next at Letterkenny University Hospital at 11.00 am.
Siobhan said nurses are possibly the most important people we will encounter in our lifetime as they are probably the first people we will ever see at our birth and possibly the last as we pass on.
“I had a scare around six months ago, had my breast removed and told that I was cancer free. I must add at this point that while in hospital in there were just two nurses in our ward of 25 persons. This was just an impossible situation.
“Later I discovered a test which would indicate if you were at high risk of recurring again. “Unfortunately I was and I am now back in chemotherapy.”
Siobhan, who had no history of cancer in her family, addressed the women and indeed men in the audience warning them never to take anything for granted and to get constant checks.
She also reminded the audience that breast cancer is not confined to women. “Men can get it too and the outcome can be worse,” she said.
Removing her wig in front of over two hundred people she said: “I could take the chemo, all the needles and sickness - the worst was losing my hair.”
Siobhan and Majella appealed to people throughout the county to get behind the nurses and to gather on Tuesday morning at Letterkenny University Hospital and join them in their picket.
“Come out in large numbers with your banners, flags - we just have to get proper conditions for our nurses and encourage them to return from the four corners of the world,” Majella said.