When Vicky Phelan delivered an emotionally charged statement from the steps of the Four Courts in April 2018 – having refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement in the settlement of her action against the HSE – she unearthed the medical and political scandal of our times. It would emerge that, like Vicky, 220 other women who were diagnosed with cervical cancer were not informed that a clinical audit -carried out by the national screen programme CervicalCheck – had revised their earlier, negative smear tests. Their cancers could possibly have been preventable.
Since then, Vicky has become women’s voice for justice on the issue, and her system-changing activism has made her a household name. In her memoir Overcoming, Vicky shares her remarkable personal story, from a life-threatening accident in early adulthood through to motherhood, a battle with depression, her devastating later discovery that her cancer had returned in shocking circumstances – and the ensuing detective-like scrutiny of events that led the charge for her history-making legal action. An inspiring story of rare resilience and power, Overcoming is an account of how one woman can move mountains – even when she is fighting for her own life – and of finding happiness and strength in the toughest of times.