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The Last Word With Matt Cooper

Vicky Phelan On Overcoming Adversity: "When I Take Something On, I Take It On"

Vicky Phelan came to prominence for her work in bringing the CervicalCheck scandal to light. The sto...
Sarah Stacey
Sarah Stacey

6:20 PM - 16 Sep 2019



The Last Word With Matt Cooper

Vicky Phelan On Overcoming Adversity: "When I Take Something On, I Take It On"

Sarah Stacey
Sarah Stacey

6:20 PM - 16 Sep 2019

Listen to this episode



Vicky Phelan came to prominence for her work in bringing the CervicalCheck scandal to light.

The story of her own cancer diagnosis and subsequent legal battle is well known to everyone in Ireland, but there is much more to Vicky's story.

She joined us on The Last Word to talk about her new memoir, Overcoming, and the events that have shaped her life to date.

Vicky is currently undergoing experimental drug treatment, which she started in April 2018, and is feeling healthy.

Although she admits she is always looking to see if her cancer has spread, she generally tries not to think about her terminal diagnosis: "As long as I'm well and I'm not in a hospice for pain management, I'm delighted."

Vicky came close to death at a young age. She was involved in a serious car accident aged 19, in which two of her friends died, and had to learn how to walk again.

She says the accident really changed her. She became "very serious", stopped going out and drinking alcohol, and was "very angry at the world".

After her first baby was born, she experienced post-natal depression which lasted two years. She took up running and decided to do a marathon, which helped her get through it: "Running really saved me from myself."

Her pregnancy was also difficult. A scan at 28 weeks revealed a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis, and her daughter Amelia was born with a visual impairment and some damage to the brain. Amelia has since developed epilepsy, and was also badly burned in an accident when she was seven years old.

Vicky says that seeing what her daughter has overcome gives her strength.

When it comes to her activism, she and other CervicalCheck campaigners such as Stephen Teap are "in it for the long haul".

"When I take something on, I take it on."

Listen to the interview in full by pressing the play button on this page.


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