Belfast Telegraph

Dignified, open and brave, Daniel and Majella O'Donnell continue to inspire

By Gail Walker

Daniel and Majella O'Donnell are truly a class act.

Few could have failed to have been moved by the sheer tact displayed in making public Majella's fight with breast cancer.

Revealing the news on his website – no tabloid 'exclusives' or cute 'friends close to' – Daniel wrote: "I'm sorry to inform you that Majella was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is undergoing treatment at present and as it was found in the early stages we are very hopeful of a full recovery."

Asking for fans' prayers rather than cards and messages which they are not in a position to deal with at this difficult time, he continued: " ... all we need are your prayers to help us through this difficult time and we know we can rely on that".

No self-pity, no histrionics, no vulgarity.

But then again, they have always displayed elegance. Surrounded by unfounded whispers, innuendo and envy, they have routinely dealt with the haters with simple statements of the truth.

Daniel isn't behind the door when it comes to saying how much he loves Majella and how much she means to him.

But they – and it is a team – have never shirked away from those more difficult subjects either.

Daniel and Majella were open about the fact they tried to have a child for years, with Majella eventually telling the Press it "wasn't meant to be" despite doctors informing them they could both have children. She's also been frank about her battle with depression. This is a couple living their lives, refusing to get caught up in PR spin and glam.

The O'Donnells are a pair whose problems mirror those of their fans and of their countrymen and women generally.

You don't have to be a Hollywood superstar like Angelina Jolie to offer hope to people. Sometimes, we need examples closer to home. People like us. Daniel and Majella are that.

While incredibly successful, they look like the people we know, they sound like the people we know, they think like the people we know.

And Majella especially has been an inspiration for many who have faced difficulties. Steady, down-to-earth, friendly, straight-talking but kindly, we see her in every house, street, village and small town here.

We wish her and Daniel well.

Belfast Telegraph


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