Vicky Phelan to take step back from campaigning to prioritise health and family

Tireless CervicalCheck campaigner Vicky Phelan has said she plans to take a step back from to prioritise her own health and to spend more time with her children and family.

She has been an inspiring and utterly heroic voice through every stage of Ireland's CervicalCheck scandal, fighting her own cervical cancer, all the while putting the women of this country and their needs at the top of her list as she (and those who support her) battled for the Irish women were also grossly wronged in the scandal.

Many have wondered how she has managed to juggle so many different plates for so long, and this week, she reached out to inform her social media followers that her health had taken a knock.

Related: 'Do not ignore this': Vicky Phelan urges women to listen to their bodies

In a series of tweets, Phelan announced that she has been “very ill” over the past couple of weeks and that she spent almost a week in hospital. She did, however, reveal that thank goodness, her cancer has not spread.

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“It was scary but I am ok again and a CT scan has revealed that my cancer has not spread,” Phelan wrote on Twitter.

She said there is “no explanation for what made me so ill so they have put it down to a viral infection.”

“My time in hospital has taught me some valuable lessons, mainly that I need to pull back from campaigning so heavily and focus on my health and my two young children,” she said.

Ms Phelan was instrumental in exposing the CervicalCheck scandal; she is fearless, gracious and unwilling to back down; after it emerged that in April of this year that she had been diagnosed with cancer three years after her smear test results of 2011 were incorrectly reported as clear, she immediately took action.

Related: Vicky Phelan urges women to continue to go for smear tests despite delays

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She has given many back that hope and light as a result of her tireless campaigning to raise awareness and get alternative drugs available to women currently trying to treat cervical cancer.

“I will still use my voice to campaign and to contribute to the conversation around women’s health but I will be doing it on my terms,” Phelan wrote today.

“I don’t know what lies ahead, so I need to prioritise my health and my family above all else,” she said.

Main photograph via @StephGrogan3  

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