Family of Vicky Phelan made every effort to enjoy Christmas, thanking public for support

Ms Phelan's family thanked everyone who had shown the mother of two "so much love and support over the last few years"
Family of Vicky Phelan made every effort to enjoy Christmas, thanking public for support

Olivia Kelleher

The family of the late Cervical Check campaigner Vicky Phelan said they made every effort to honour her request that they enjoy the Christmas period even though their hearts remain heavy following her loss.

In a post on the Vicky's Tribe Facebook page, her parents John and Gaby Kelly, her husband Jim and their children, Amelia and Darragh said they wanted to wish a very happy new year to all the members and administrators of the platform who had given Vicky "so much love and support over the last few years".

"It has been an amazing experience to see how it bonded so many people together to be part of our family and share in Vicky's life at a time when she needed it most, to help her ease and overcome some of her difficulties, and we can say it was an overwhelming success.

"Of course, it will leave a huge void for us when Vicky's Tribe Page is taken down as it gave us so much pride reading all your beautiful comments and, at the end, all your genuine sympathy and condolences at the loss of a very special daughter.

"We made this Christmas special at Vicky's request, and even with heavy hearts we overcame our sorrow to make a very Happy Christmas for all the family. So a big thank you to each and every one of you for your love and kindness to our wonderful daughter Vicky," the post added.

Ms Phelan died in November 2022 at the age of 48.

She was diagnosed with cervical cancer eight years ago but was given the all clear after long and difficult treatment.

However, in 2018 she was informed that an audit carried out by CervicalCheck found that her 2011 smear test had been reported as a false negative.

Within weeks, a CT scan revealed the cancer had returned and the diagnosis was terminal.

She went public with what had occurred in a bid to help other women in her position and her efforts sparked debate surrounding the treatment and care of patients in Ireland.

Ms Phelan decided to stop chemotherapy in November 2021 in order to focus on making memories with her family having previously travelled to the US for treatment in a bid to extend her life.

Whilst her funeral arrangements were private, her home town of Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny subsequently held a memorial service in the parish church which was a 'celebration of life' open to the public, as per Ms Phelan's requests, and included performances by some of her favourite musicians, including the Stunning and Niall Breslin.

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