Limerick woman Vicky Phelan may not have wished to be such a well-known face in Ireland but she has taken difficult personal circumstances and has become a beacon of hope for women everywhere.
Reluctantly finding herself at the centre of the Cervical Check scandal, and battling terminal cancer, Phelan is the definition of inspiration, using her voice and platform to help save women’s lives.
This current challenge is just part of what Vicky has dealt with in her life and she is to share her inspiring story in an upcoming, life-affirming memoir.
The book, to be published Hachette Ireland next autumn, tells the story of how Vicky’s strength and determination were forged through many challenges. She survived a life-threatening accident as a young adult, overcome family tragedy and has battled depression.
Now the face of the Cervical Check scandal, Vicky will also reveal her experience of a cancer diagnosis and how she’s dealing with life as a public figure. First diagnosed with cancer in 2014, she was three years cancer-free before being told the cancer had returned in 2017 and was untreatable.
Upon examining her files, Phelan realised that a smear test she had done in 2011 had been misread by a US lab. She had never been told that her current diagnosis, which is terminal, could have been avoided. She took legal action and went public with her story. Since then Vicky has become one of the best known figures in the country, and recently received the Irish Tatler Special Recognition Award 2018.
Speaking of her decision to write about her life, she said:
‘Since the the CervicalCheck scandal broke, a lot of people have said to me, “How do you stay so strong?” They tell me I’m brave and, while that’s nice to hear, it’s not necessarily how I think of myself – after all, as any mother knows, you tend to keep on keeping on, no matter what life throws at you.
‘What I do know, though, is that the lessons that life has taught me till now – the ups and downs that I have come through – are what have kept me strong. Having cervical cancer is hard, but I have survived worse, and if there’s any message I want people to take from this book, it is one of hope that, even in the hardest of times, life is worth living, each precious moment at a time.’
Vicky Phelan’s memoir will be published in Autumn 2019.