Personal stories

  • I thought breast cancer happened to other women - breast cancer stories
  • 1 in 10 women in Northern Ireland will get breast cancer.

    This could be your mum, your sister, aunt, niece or friend. Someone just like Deirdre, Loretta, Elaine, Yvonne, Julie or Kirsty.

    Not one of them thought it would happen to them. Please read their stories and make the decision to become actively breast aware.

    If you’d like to support local women affected by breast cancer, consider hosting a Girls Night In and help raise vital funds to continue providing our breast cancer support services.

  • Deirdre Whytes' breast cancer story
  • Deirdre Whyte, Glengormley 

    Deirdre Whyte, a mother of three from Glengormley was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. Deirdre underwent a mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer and used the Cancer Focus bra fitting service to feel and look her best to get ready for her daughter’s wedding, a hugely important event for any mother. 

    Read Deirdre’s story

  • Elaine Phillips' breast cancer story
  • Elaine Phillips (38), Templepatrick

    Mother of two young children, Elaine Phillips was 38 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and knows first-hand how important it is for women to be breast aware and to contact their GP immediately if they notice a change in their breast.

    Read Elaine’s story

  • Loretta Nolans' breast cancer story
  • Loretta Nolan (54), Belfast

    Loretta Nolan, was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2021. Loretta chose not to have reconstruction of her breast after her mastectomy, and the bra fitting service played a huge part in her journey. When your normal changes, and your body looks different it is nice to have someone compassionate to help you feel a little more like yourself again, it’s a new normal, and that’s ok too.

    Read Loretta’s story

  • Yvonne Alderdice's breast cancer story: Support Your Girls
  • Yvonne Alderdice (44), Bangor

    Yvonne Alderdice (44), from Bangor, is married to Dave and has three children, Zoe (14), Ross (13) and Ciara (11). She was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and since then has picked her life up again and even ran the Dublin marathon. She is a keen advocate of checking yourself for anything out of the ordinary.


    Read Yvonne’s story.

  • Julie Lillis's breast cancer story: Support Your Girls
  • Julie Lillis (38), Whiteabbey

    Julie Lillis, (38), a TV production manager from Whiteabbey, was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2020 after finding a lump. She believes a support group for younger women with breast cancer is exactly what is needed in Northern Ireland.

    Read Julie’s story.

  • Kirsty Merriman's breast cancer story
  • Kirsty Merriman (45), Bangor

    Kirsty Merriman, (45), from Bangor is married to Richard and has three children, Sophie (14), Ben (14) and  Finn (12). She was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2020 after finding a lump when recovering from a home-workout with her family.

    A year later, Kirsty joined forces with another breast cancer survivor, Yvonne Alderdice. Along with their families and friends, they took on a chilling ‘Dip a Day’ challenge in the sea throughout April and raised over £12K for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

    Read Kirsty’s story.

  • Claire Williamson shares her breast cancer story
  • Claire Williamson, Lisburn

    When Claire was diagnosed with breast cancer, her two boys were only 18 months and six years old She had recently been for a mammogram, so when she found a lump on her breast she wasn’t overly worried but still approached her GP about it.

    Claire explains how important it is to get to know your own breasts. 

    Read Claire’s story.

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