Northern Ireland

Daughter of Co Antrim woman who died after breast cancer battle urges people to know the signs and symptoms

Debbie with her mum Deirdre Whyte on her wedding day
Debbie with her mum Deirdre Whyte on her wedding day Debbie with her mum Deirdre Whyte on her wedding day

THE daughter of a Co Antrim woman who died after breast cancer battle has urged people to "be thankful and make every second count" as she backed a new health campaign.

Deirdre Whyte from Glengormley passed away last month, just two years after her diagnosis. Her death came shortly after she had shared her experience of the breast cancer support services provided by Cancer Focus NI.

Figures show one in 10 women in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

To coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Cancer Focus NI has launched its 'Girls’ Night In' campaign to help it continue its vital work helping women like Deirdre.

Her daughter Debbie is backing the campaign to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms as well as highlight the support services available for women in the north.

Her mother had underwent a mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer and used the Cancer Focus NI bra fitting service to look and feel her best on her daughter's wedding day.

A few weeks after she attended her bra fitting and shared her experience, Deirdre was admitted to a local hospice and sadly died on September 11.

Debbie described how her mother "had a tough journey from her breast cancer diagnosis in 2020".

"She would never let cancer stop her from doing the things she loved - spending time with her children, grandchildren, family and friends," she said.

"She showed great determination and strength through this horrible disease. My mummy fought right to the end and saved all her strength for my wedding day and she looked a million dollars. We were so grateful to the bra fitting experts at Cancer Focus NI who helped make that happen.

"I'm so glad she got to make more great memories with the time she had left."

Debbie added: "I hope my mummy's story highlights the importance of always getting symptoms checked if you feel something isn’t right.

"No matter what life throws at you, get up each morning, be thankful and make every second count."

Rosie Forsythe from Cancer Focus NI, said: "Around 1,450 local women are diagnosed here each year. The support from local people across Northern Ireland has been overwhelming and we couldn’t be more grateful.

"The funds raised so far have helped us to launch our Thrive Community, a group specifically for young women diagnosed with breast cancer to share their experiences after a diagnosis that dramatically changes their hopes and plans for the future.

"This year we are raising funds for our breast cancer services which are essential to providing local women with the support they need, when they need it.

"With services like counselling, art therapy, bra fitting services, family support and peer support in our Thrive and Focus Friends groups, our unique offering makes a real difference to women who are navigating one of the toughest times of their lives."

For information, please visit www.cancerfocusni.org.