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14th Nov 2022

Cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan has died

Dave Hanratty

Vicky Phelan

Heartbreaking news, may she rest in peace.

Cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan has passed away following a long battle with cancer.

According to RTÉ News, Phelan died in the early hours of Monday morning (14 November) at Milford Hospice in Limerick.

Phelan, who underwent a smear test in 2011 that showed no abnormalities, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014. Four years later, she settled a High Court action for €2.5 million with Clinical Pathology Labs US.

On the Late Late Show in 2021, Phelan spoke candidly about her health and the treatment she was receiving at that time.

“I was sick, in pain, tired and going from one side effect to another and this is something people don’t talk about,” she said. “The horrors of the treatment are often worse than the actual disease,” added Phelan.

“I’d rather be well and have a shorter time frame. I’d like my children to have memories of doing stuff with me and if I die sooner, so be it.”

The mother of two went on to say that four weeks prior, she didn’t think that she’d see Christmas of that year.

“That’s how real this is for me,” she said. “At this stage, I’ve been fighting this terminal part of the disease since 2018.”

She continued: “I’ve always known this cancer is incurable. I’ve been very realistic about it.”

Phelan also spoke about the process of planning her own funeral, and joked: “I’m a control freak, no one will be planning anything without my say-so.”

Speaking with the Sunday Times in November of 2021, Phelan said that terminally ill people deserved the right to end their life on their own terms.

“Nobody’s allowed to give you a magic injection to make you go any faster and I don’t want to be lingering for my kids,” she said.

“Just because you believe something for your own reasons, whether they’re religious or other, you shouldn’t be imposing your beliefs on somebody else,” Phelan added.

Phelan was presented with the Freedom of Limerick earlier this year. She described how she felt “deeply honoured” to receive the recognition on Newstalk Breakfast.

“So I’m only the fifth woman in Limerick to have this award bestowed upon them and the women that have gone before me have been fairly serious contenders,” she said.

The four previous women are Trudy Hunt, Kathleen Clarke, Maud Gonne, and Ishbel Maria Hamilton-Gordon.

“So it’s great to be another woman to add to that list – and please God there’ll be more than that”.

Phelan also struck up a friendship with former RTÉ broadcaster Charlie Bird following his diagnosis with Motor Nueron Disease.

In October, Phelan paid tribute to her friend Lynsey Bennett, who passed away from cancer at the age of 34.

“I am thinking today of Lynsey’s two beautiful girls, Zoe and Hailee, who are so very young to have their mother taken away from them,” said Phelan.

“I would also like to sympathise with Lynsey’s family and friends. I am so very sorry for your loss. Lynsey had an amazing will to live which no doubt kept her alive for as long as she did.”

Featured Image via Sam Boal / 

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