Helena O’Brien was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2019 aged just 39, and is now cancer free.
After first being diagnosed when she noticed an imperfection on her nipple which she showed to her GP on an unrelated visit, Helena’s treatment plan included a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Her treatment concluded in November 2019.
Shaving her head was a pivotal moment in her journey, and a moment when she says she took ownership of her treatment and what lay ahead.
When she was declared cancer free Helena began to focus on her mental wellbeing and took up 100 Days of Walking to help her to stay active and increase her mental wellbeing.
Sharing her progress on her Instagram ‘This is not a race it’s healing’ Helena has charted her journey of emotional healing following her cancer diagnosis.
She has also helped to advocate for those affected by cancer, including on the issue of automatic medical cards for anyone diagnosed.
In early 2020 when the pandemic had just begun and before widespread restrictions were introduced Helena joined other patient advocates and took part in the Irish Cancer Society’s My Life Matters campaign to encourage people to stay home to help keep those especially vulnerable to Covid-19 safe.
Mum to Abigail (6), Helena’s positive outlook and openness with her experiences have helped to spread the message of the importance of early detection and support that is available to people affected by cancer.
The Irish Cancer Society Support Line is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm for support and advice on any cancer related issue.