Rosemarys Story


In June Rosemary O'Hara was lying on the beach with her husband when she noticed a lump in her breast. She went to see her doctor immediately. Days later Rosemary was diagnosed with breast cancer and within one week had surgery to remove it.

The 58-year-old senior carer and mother found support and friendship in the Pink Ladies when she joined in September following her return from Southampton.

She is now suffering with lymphoedema, a painful side-effect of breast cancer treatment that prevents drainage of the lymphatic glands following a mastectomy.

The weekly treatment, including lymphatic massage of the areas affected in the arms and chest, can alleviate the pain. It is not paid for by the Health and Social Services Department. The Pink Ladies funds it through the £100,000 raised by its walk in 2007.

The treatment, said Rosemary, makes a huge difference to her everyday life.

'The swelling can be extremely uncomfortable,' she said. 'I missed my treatment for two weeks and I really noticed the difference.' Rosemary cannot praise the Pink Ladies highly enough. She said her world had been turned upside down when she was diagnosed last summer.

'I think it is absolutely fabulous that there is a group of people who go to so much effort to make the situation better for people they don't even know.

'It is unbelievable the support that they give to us to help us through this cancer. They have been a great support to me and anybody else who goes there.

'I have fantastic support from my family and friends, but sometimes you feel you can't bore people about what is going through your mind,' said the healthcare professional of more than 40 years.

'When you're feeling down, the Pink Ladies meetings are a reason to get yourself out of the house. These women are absolutely fantastic.

'Because of the money raised, all the treatment is free,' said Rosemary.

'When you have already been through so much, not having to worry about the cost of treatment as well is a good thing.'

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