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Rose of Tralee Elysha Brennan: 'I don't want to be known as the Rose who beat cancer'

By Majella O'Sullivan

Published 20/08/2015

In remission: Elysha yesterday
In remission: Elysha yesterday

Rose of Tralee Elysha Brennan does not want to be remembered only as the Rose who survived cancer.

But the 22-year-old medical student plans to write a book she hopes will help others battling the disesae.

"There's so much more to me than cancer," she said. "Cancer is part of me but not all of me. There are other strings to my bow.

"I do want to honour it, though, and if there was somebody out sitting at home like I was three years ago, it would give me hope."

The Bettystown, Co Meath, native was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma weeks before she sat her repeat Leaving Cert, but has been in remission for the last two-and-a-half years.

"I want to write a book because I actually found it hard to find someone in the public eye or the media that was speaking honestly about cancer, so I would love to have had, not a self-help book, but an honest account of how things go," she said.

Elysha, who is single, says medicine has been her "boyfriend" for the past few years.

In an interview with the Irish Independent she said that following Maria Walsh will be difficult, but she will take a different path.

"She can pass on the sash to me and hopefully it's in safe hands and I can do her proud."

Now Elysha has to decide whether she will defer her studies at the Royal College of Surgeons so that she can concentrate on her Rose duties.

"I have amazing friends and we started this journey together. I always thought I'd finish it with them and we'd be on stage graduating together.

"But this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I won't get to do this again.

"There were 31 others on that stage who were equally as deserving, so I want to do everyone proud," she said.

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