Island singer aims to complete album after cancer diagnosis

Fighting fit...Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola.

One of the country’s best known traditional singers is back making sweet music – after the shock of a cancer diagnosis when she was five months pregnant.

Aran Islands singer Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola has this week spoken publicly for the first time about being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39.

At the time of her diagnosis, Lasairfhíona was in the process of putting together her second album.

But the money she had put aside for the work on the album was spent on her treatment – and she has now set up a Fundit page to raise funds to complete the album.

“They wanted to start me on chemo while I was pregnant, but we weren’t comfortable with that,” Lasairfhíona told Iris Aniar on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.

“We did some research on it… I wanted to be able to enjoy being a mother and give myself time.  I was thinking that if I did chemo, that I wouldn’t have time for the baby, because I’d be sick or tired.

“It’s not an easy decision for any woman to make, but I said I’d wait.  I took very good care of myself.  I stopped eating meat and dairy, and I took a lot of vitamins.

“I did mediation, things like that, and I was doing a lot of research.  Thankfully, my daughter was born safe and well,” she added.

After her daughter was born, Lasairfhíona decided to undergo chemo.

“I was afraid to do it… but I did a lot of additional things.  I took intravenous Vitamin C, I’d stopped eating meat and dairy because they are hard on the body.

“The doctors were very happy, the scans were showing everything going the right way.  The lump is gone now, something which is very unusual.

“I didn’t need to get a mastectomy or lumpectomy … one of the doctors in the hospital noticed how well I was doing, and told me I looked too healthy!” she said.

And the singer has now set up a Fundit page to finish her album. “I’d like to finish it, because while I was healing it kept me going that I would finish the album,” she said.

The Fundit campaign runs until April 27. You can contribute on Fundit.