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Saturday 3 December 2016

'I'll write book on cancer battle' vows Rose Elysha

A delighted Elysha enjoys her first day as the 2015 Rose of Tralee
A delighted Elysha enjoys her first day as the 2015 Rose of Tralee

Rose of Tralee Elysha Brennan wants to pen a book about her cancer journey to help other people.

But the 22-year-old medical student does not want to be only remembered as the Rose who survived cancer.

"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 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.

Honest

"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.

Single Elysha saids medicine has been her "boyfriend" for the past few years and she hasn't had time for looking at boys.

And, even though she acknowledges she has big shoes to fill, she said she wants to meet the standards set by the 2014 Rose winner Maria Walsh, and also put her own stamp on the role.

"I want to honour Maria Walsh. I think she has left the door wide open for me - but I'm a different person.

"I'm not the next Maria Walsh, I'm the new Elysha Brennan.

"She can pass on the sash to me and, hopefully, it's in safe hands and I can do her proud, myself proud, my Rose sisters proud, the Rose of Tralee proud and Ireland proud. Maria has given me such a leg up and I'll be standing on the shoulders of a giant," she added.

Now Elysha faces the huge decision on whether she will defer her studies at the Royal College of Surgeons to concentrate on her Rose duties.

"I'm going home today, so I'll sit down and think things through. It's a huge decision to make and I won't make it light-heartedly.

"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 too, 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.

Coming up for Elysha in the near future will be an appearance on the Late Late Show, a coup for the Ryan Tubridy fan, who has already texted her to wish her well.

Last year's Rose, Maria Walsh, is looking forward to some downtime and a well-deserved rest in California for 12 days. Then it's back to Ireland, where she has signed up with agents NK Management to get her media career on track.

"I'm planning on staying here till Christmas, so I'm with NK and they're going to help me gravitate to something media-wise," Maria said.

"But I have some terms and conditions, however. I don't want to take up anything that's not going to be in-depth and have the opportunity to empower and inspire," she said.

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