Big hearted Dublin mum speaks of love of new family after devastating cancer battle

Published date04 March 2021
Dubliner Lesley Berney got breast cancer when she was 28. Her world was rocked when she was told the chances of having her own biological children were slim.

Lesley, 47, told the Irish Mirror: "I remember saying to my oncologist will I go off and freeze my eggs and he said you're not going anywhere, we need to keep you alive.

"I had a lump removed and then when I met the oncologist he was like, there's no other way to tell you this, you've got breast cancer.

"Then I had half my breast removed and six months of intensive chemotherapy and 30 days straight of radiotherapy afterwards.

"I was with the oncology team every three months as I was so young."

Lesley said she always knew motherhood would be different for her.

She said: "I always knew I'd be a mother but I knew it would be different.

"My hubby Steven said, 'I married you, what will be will be', he's a very quiet reflective individual, he's quite a special guy."

The couple tried adopting but had no luck.

Lesley explained: "We were due to be allocated our social worker to start the matching process with Vietnam.

"But Ireland had failed to ratify the Hague convention with the country and so it closed.

"Adoption was just a non runner."

The IVF route was painful too: "Docs said the likelihood of getting pregnant post chemo was slim to none.

"The fertility clinic SIMs clinic was popular, we went for a few tests and they said my reproductive system wasn't in the best place and we could give it a go if we wanted.

"IVF is like being on a revolving wheel, once you get on it's hard to get off.

"My chances were slim to none anyway, we went through two cycles and they weren't successful.

"Fertility is such an overwhelming experience, I'd be very measured and level headed and stoic about stuff, but you still get sucked into thinking, 'maybe it'll happen'."

At first the couple were unsure about fostering but once they got started they've never looked back.

Lesley said: "We've had 12 children through the house, we had one little lady who came to us aged four, she's autistic and she had an intellectual disability.

"She came to us on respite to give her mum a break and 10 years later she still comes to us.

"She comes every second weekend for three nights.

"Our second little lady, Dianna came along three weeks later, age 13 from Malawi, she was in Ireland since she was eight, brought in as an unaccompanied minor.

"She's now in her third year of applied social studies degree, she looks like Beyonce, she's all about the...

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