As Vicky Phelan walked onto an Aer Lingus flight to Maryland yesterday, the support of a nation was behind her, lighting candles to guide her way.
A quick search on Twitter for #lightitupforVicky will warm your heart on this cold Monday morning.
As the mother of two-headed for the US over the weekend for experimental immunotherapy cancer treatment, thousands of Irish people lit candles to show their support for her after her recent announcement that her cancer had returned following the discovery of a tumour on her lung.
Vicky Phelan was first diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014 after receiving a smear test in 2011 that failed to detect any abnormalities. Her case against the state in 2018 brought the controversy into public consciousness and since then she has become a spokesperson not just for the women failed by the cervical testing scandal, but for all women left behind by our healthcare system, capturing the hearts of the nation with her bravery and honesty.
And you can see that love and support all over Twitter this morning after the hashtag #lightupforvicky was set up by Yvonne Whelan to light up social media and fundraise for Hereos Aid.
I genuinely don’t have enough words to describe my respect for @PhelanVicky. Her determination, strength & resilience is just extraordinary. The women of Ireland are indebted to you for advocating for us Vicky. Thank you. Godspeed & Safe flight to #Maryland. #LightItUpForVicky pic.twitter.com/b6zJH0fWxZ
— Niamh O'Connor RD (@CorkNutrition) January 10, 2021
— Gerry Neill Jr. (@LimerickGerry) January 10, 2021
Thinking of Vicky Phelan tonight as she arrives in the US to start her treatment Sending her love and positivity. She stood up for all the woman of Ireland and we are all thinking of her and standing with her during this tough time #lightitupforvicky pic.twitter.com/dwvfv8HAuu
— corkgirljackie (@foleyjackie823) January 10, 2021
?@PhelanVicky? hope you don’t think I’m crazy but I got this card myself in the post on Friday from a former colleague & I think it’s very apt for you right now so sharing the sentiments of it with you along with our lighting candle #lightitupforvicky ?? pic.twitter.com/LrmmMewAxz
— Sandra Kelly (@sank2016) January 10, 2021
Today's the day, come what may,
We wave goodbye, as you sail away.
A nation behind you, beside you as well,
It's people they love you, as you can tell.
Travel safely my friend, to the U S of A,
See you back soon, can't wait for that day........
Big Hugs @PhelanVicky ?
— ???? ???? (@walls2) January 10, 2021
She spoke emotionally on Friday night’s The Late Late Show about her plans to try the months-long experimental treatment in the US rather than opt for palliative care here in Ireland. “What I’m scared of most is not coming back. Or of coming back in a coffin, I know that sounds very brutal but that would be my biggest worry,” she told Ryan Tubridy.
"d'ya know what I'm scared of most, is not coming back"
— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) January 8, 2021
The trial focuses on an immunotherapy drug, a similar to one that had significant success in shrinking her tumours before, and will take a minimum of six months. While there is a slim chance that it could result in full remission, she said that her hopes are for two or three more good years to spend with her two children, Amelia and Darragh.
Featured image: Vicky Phelan via Twitter
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