‘I found a tiny lump but I knew I had to get it checked’

Breast cancer survivor Eileen Curran with Roy Schulberg from the band Schulberg and Maureen Collins,  Pink Ladies.
Breast cancer survivor Eileen Curran with Roy Schulberg from the band Schulberg and Maureen Collins, Pink Ladies.

A Derry woman who is helping run a charity night to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the formation of the Pink Ladies group, says she is “living proof” that early detection can save your life.

Three years ago Eileen Curran found what she describes as a “tiny lump” in her breast.

“I thought it was nothing,” she said. “But I knew all about the awareness campaigns advising women that they should see their doctor if they notice any changes in their breasts.”

Eileen was diagnosed with breast cancer requiring a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

“It took me a long time to get over the shock and come to terms with it,” said Eileen. “But I am lucky in a way because I went early and I didn’t need chemo or radiotherapy.”

Eileen had read about the good work the Pink Ladies were doing in Derry and decided to join the group.

“From the minute I came in I was made to feel so welcome,” she said. “These women know how you are feeling and the stress you are under. You can talk about anything here. When you are diagnosed you feel like you are on a conveyor belt and the talk can be very clinical. But with the Pink Ladies, you can come and say: ‘What did they really mean by that?’ This group has encouraged me to do things I would never have thought about doing before and never would have had the confidence to do.”

Eileen has now joined the Pink Ladies choir, writing group and the fundraising committee.

Her partner Billy Divin who plays in the band Schulberg, lost his own mother to cancer.

The band, fronted by Roy Schulberg will lead the charity night upstairs in 57/Paedars on Friday May 27.

The band has played at a number of charity gigs and Roy, who is a big charity supporter and regularly visits the Foyle Hospice says he hopes as many people will come along and lend their support.

“I hope it gets the message across to men and women about the importance of early detection,” he said.

Maureen Collins from the Pink Ladies thanked William McGuinness who was donated the premises on the night, free of charge.

“I remember how William was one of the first people to donate to the Pink Ladies after his wife Kate died after battling cancer for a second time,” she said. “There’s no family who can say they have no touched by cancer. This event will help us get the message out there and thank the many people who have supported us over the years.

“The message with the Pink Ladies and of course the Pink Panthers still is about the importance about prevention and early detection. We want to mark this eleventh anniversary now we have opened our new premises in Bayview Terrace.”

Doors open at 9.00 p.m.