Eileen O'Connor 's mast fight continues

Oct 5 2006

Wishaw campaigner Eileen O'Connor will give a high-profile speech to an industry watchdog in London this month about how she believes a mobile phone mast gave her breast cancer.

Meanwhile Mrs O'Connor, diagnosed with the disease five years ago aged just 38, is busy organising a ball celebrating her return to health.

She has fought a long battle against masts, claiming that antennae erected 100 metres from her home by TMobile - and subsequently felled by anonymous protesters - had made her ill.

Mrs O'Connor is now a trustee of the Radiation Research Trust (RRT), which is campaigning for safer siting of masts while trying to fund extra research into their health effects.

At a meeting of the Health Protection Agency in London on October 16, Mrs O'Connor will give a presentation of her concerns that exposure to electromagnetic fields might increase the risk of breast cancer and other diseases.

The body is chaired by Sir William Stewart, who in his work with the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones warned that there was no certainty that masts and phones are safe.

Mrs O'Connor said she was glad to be still alive so she could address the meeting - and has arranged a celebratory, fundraising ball for the RRT at Wishaw Golf Club on November 18.

She said: "People can take measures to help avoid EMFs by using mobile phones for emergency calls only. Stop using DECT phones, replace them with a fixed land-line phones and also avoid wireless communication until a safer technology becomes available.

"I believe we are finally getting closer to a breakthrough and will hopefully find the connection between EMFs and breast cancer as we cannot allow the relentless rise in breast cancer to continue.

"It has been a difficult five years coming to terms with breast cancer at a young age. However, it has been a great privilege to be involved within a cuttingedge campaign to gain recognition to possibly one of the biggest connections to this terrible disease and I am honoured to be in a position to represent the many people who are suffering throughout the world."

Eileen remembers her "difficult five years":

"In a celebration of life and being almost five years clear from cancer, I've decided to raise the roof and have a ball and raise money for the RRT.

"I have come a long way with the campaign against phone masts with the support of the RRT, SCRAM (Sutton Coldfield Residents Against Masts), doctors, and independent scientists, some politicians, the media and the many campaigners throughout the world.

"This is a landmark time for me and I'm almost scared to say that I'm now almost five years clear from breast cancer. I visited my doctor on November 5, 2001 covered in a horrific skin rash from head to toe and a lump in my breast.

"The lump removed on November 13 and I was diagnosed on November 20, 2001. The moment I heard those terrible words "I'm sorry, it's cancer", I knew I was given this awful disease for a reason.

"At first I thought I was supposed to go on to become a counsellor and help people with cancer, as I was into my second year training to become a counsellor; I went on to learn how to counsel people who are dying with cancer, and my eyes have been opened to the harsh heartbreaking realities of life.

"However, I now believe the real reason was to fight against what I truly believe is one of the biggest causes of cancer on the planet and I believe this is my destiny."

She added: "I do have periods when I want to stop the world and get off and go back to a normal life. I really enjoyed the six weeks' holidays off with my family and thought I never wanted to return to the campaign ever again - if only.

"However, here I am, back in the thick of it and beginning to prepare for my presentation for the EMF Discussion Group at the Health Protection Agency on October 16. I want to make an impact and hope I can hold my nerves as I realise how important this is.

"I'm sure I will be fine as I have many angels walking with me and helping along the way."

l Wishaw's Winter Black Tie & Tiara Ball runs from 7pm till late.

Tickets costing £40 are being snapped up very quickly. Mrs O'Connor said: "Funds raised will help create awareness and understanding for the serious condition known as electro-sensitivity and further research into cancer and genetic vulnerability to electro-magnetic fields.

"With your help we will continue the campaign for law and policy change demanding safer technology and sensible locations for phone masts, electric pylons and wireless communication.

"Please help to make our first Ball a night to remember, full of fun and laughter in a celebration of life, while raising money for this important global issue."

Raffle and auction prizes are needed, adding to the luxury hamper from Samworth Brothers and signed Villa shirt already donated.

Call 0121 351 2437 or e-mail eileen@ smokestackltd.co.uk for tickets, to donate prizes, or to book advertising space in the order of service for the evening.

Eileen's face is one of five currently appearing on an advert on the QVC channel for Breast Cancer Care after being chosen from thousands of photographs. The picture was taken and sent in by her photographer husband Paul.

© owned by or licensed to Midland Newspapers Limited 2006




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