Rachael-Ann McCarney (29), is a primary school teacher from Cavan based in Dublin.

Rachael urges women to join pink army and do 100K in 30 days

A young primary school teacher from County Cavan is one of this year's ambassadors for the 100k in 30 Days fundraiser for Breast Cancer Ireland.

Rachael-Ann McCarney (29) was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in March 2021 just a month before her 28th birthday. Self-check and early detection saved her life.

She's keen to raise awareness about the risks and signs of cancer, especially among young people who sometimes think they are invincible.

Rachael found a lump in August 2020 and got it checked in October. Breast Cancer Awareness gave her the push she needed to go see her GP. Her GP referred her urgently to a hospital, as she has a strong family history of breast cancer. Sixteen weeks later, she still hadn’t been seen so demanded an appointment.

The cancer was caught just in time and, had it been left untreated, she would have been looking at years to live.

Rachael had a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction with axillary clearance on the left side on March 25, 2021, in Beaumont Hospital. Approximately 10 lumps were found in total, four of which were cancerous. The largest measured 9cm. She also needed 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 20 sessions of radiotherapy as a preventive measure to give herself the best chance going forward.

Her treatment finished on December 1, 2021, exactly nine months after the day she was diagnosed.

Rachael is doing 100K in 30 Days to give something back and help others. She returned to work in January and is taking a career break next year to travel the world.

Following the success of last year’s 100K in 30 Days event, which raised €1.7 million for Breast Cancer Ireland, organisers are calling on everyone, whether you’re based in Ireland or abroad, to join the #pinkarmy and take part in the June event. Registration is now open at www.100kin30days.ie

The event, sponsored by Sherry FitzGerald, is open to everyone - runners, walkers, those in wheelchairs, families, colleagues, schools, community groups, and sports teams. 100K in 30 Days was founded by Co. Louth (Blackrock, Dundalk) couple Niall Carroll and Cara McAdam and launched in 2020 after Cara was diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the last two years, 38,000 people in 36 countries have taken part raising €3million for Breast Cancer Ireland.

This has gone towards:

Equipment for a new state-of-the-art Clinical Trial Centre due to open at the new Breast Centre on the Beaumont Hospital Campus in June.

The Shamrock Trial – a new clinical trial into Her2+ breast cancer that is being created to examine a fourth generation drug and its effectiveness as part of the treatment plan, de-escalating the need for chemotherapy in the process.

Research Nurses - supporting specialist breast research nurses in the eight designated cancer centres.

Triple-Negative breast cancer research - led by Dr Paul Mullan, from the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research at Queens University Belfast. Research is progressing and is close to publication / clinical trial development.

Niall Carroll, founder of 100K in 30 Days, said: “ We all know someone who has or has had breast cancer and the purpose of 100K in 30 Days is for everyone, young and old, grandparents to grandkids, to have fun and get the daily steps in while raising much needed funds for Breast Cancer Ireland. Over the last two years, we’ve seen €3 million raised, which has gone into various research projects but it doesn’t end there. We want to keep raising money to continue these trials so we’ll continue to fund finding a cure for breast cancer.

"I’m very proud of the success the pink army has achieved to date and we’d be delighted to see new faces this year. I hope communities all across Ireland get behind it. Cancer isn’t defeated alone. It takes a village. It’s a challenge that can be done in your own time anywhere in the world and you can even get the dog involved!”

Aisling Hurley, CEO of Breast Cancer Ireland, said: “We’ve seen the hugely positive impact that that funds raised from 100K in 30 Days challenge has had for Breast Cancer Ireland. The funds raised over the last two years have supported a number of important initiatives, most importantly, the creation of a new clinical trial, the Shamrock Trial, which will involve 80 patients around the country. This is a hugely significant trial, in that we’re trying to use a new fourth generation drug, where we hope, as a result, to be in a position to de-escalate the need for chemotherapy for patients and have a 100% response rate.

"Secondly, we’re supporting our specialist breast research nurses in each of the designated cancer centres. Their role is to collect patient tissue samples, into one large national bio-bank allowing clinicians and scientists to avail of larger volumes and thereby speed up research discovery output. And finally, we’re supporting our complimentary Education and Outreach programme nationally, educating women and men on the importance of good breast health. Breast Cancer Ireland’s vision is to seek to transform this disease from often being fatal to a treatable long-term illness that can be maintained.”

Those who register for 100K in 30 Days and log their distances are also in with a chance to win prizes such as a €5,000 holiday voucher, numerous weekends away, children’s prizes, Fitbit smart watches and shopping vouchers.

Instagram @100kin30days

Twitter hashtags #100kin30days & #pinkarmy