Cancer survivor Elysha Brennan was crowned the winner of this year’s Rose of Tralee contest on Tuesday night. She suffered from Hodgkin's lymphoma but survived the cancer and is now is a medical student. The Rose of Tralee is annually the most watched program on Irish television as 32 women from all over the world compete.
Brennan described how she noticed a lump on her neck before taking her finals in school and the shock when she was diagnosed with cancer.
“It felt like being hit by a double-decker bus,” she said.
“It was a huge shock. The first thought with cancer was, ‘I’m going to die.’
“I was given the news that I was in complete remission in February of 2013,” she told host Dáithí Ó Sé. “Two and a half years later, I’m happy and healthy and in a course that I love.”
Despite the cancer treatments, Brennan got into medical school and is entering her third year. Her ambition is to be a pediatrician.
She says she has a passion “for all things song and dance.”
“I have been lucky enough to have taken part in the Olympia Theatre Dublin Christmas pantomimes and a Michael Jackson tribute show,” she said.
“I made a bucket list two years ago and am slowly ticking things off, including visiting the Statue of Liberty in New York and Greek island hopping.”
Her win comes after last year’s winner Maria Walsh announced she was gay after she won. Walsh was on hand to crown the new rose.