“The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are” Maya Angelou
On 1st February NCCWN Donegal Women’s Network held the county’s first Herstory event in support of a national women’s storytelling movement to tell the stories of women past and present. The event brought women together to share stories through a creative process and created a space to reflect on the importance of ensuring women’s everyday lives, contributions and stories are both told and included in our history.
As part of this day Julie Griffiths an Artist and facilitator from Donegal Changemakers a development education project lead a unique workshop entitled ‘Mighty Women’ commemorative plates a creative way of talking about and celebrating the women who have influenced and enrich our everyday lives.
We are delighted the Commemorative Plates created by the woman on the day will now been on display in Donegal Town, giving others the opportunity to see these unique piece and read about the women who influenced their creation. These unique plates will be on display in Simple Simon, Donegal Town from Thursday 5th March in celebration of International Women’s Day.
We would like take this opportunity to thank all the woman who participated in this event, the stories their shared are inspiring and highlight why it’s so important women’s lives and voices are both valued and heard. And to Julie Griffiths and Simple Simon for organising and facilitating the display of these unique plates. We invite the community to stop by and see them 🙂
NCCWN Donegal Women’s Network invites you to join us on Saturday 1st February 10.30am-3.15pm in the St. Patrick’s centre, Donegal Town for our Donegal Women’s ‘HerStory’ event. This event is a creative day to honour the women who inspire us and celebrate St.Brigid’s Day Ireland’s triple goddess and matron Saint.
During the day we will be joined by the Carolyn Farrar a journalist and writer who will be leading a creative writing session to celebrate women’s lives and those who inspire us. In the afternoon we will be joined by Julie Griffiths an Artist and facilitator from Donegal Changemakers who will lead a unique workshop entitled ‘Commemorative Plates’ a creative way of talking about and celebrating the women who have influenced and enrich our everyday lives.
The Donegal HerStory is being held in support of the national Herstory Irish women’s storytelling movement. A unique project that tells the life stories of historic, mythic and modern women that have not been told. The movements mission is to give the public authentic female role models and a game-changing egalitarian education programme, inspiring countries around the world to start their own Herstory movements. To find out more please visit https://www.herstory.ie/
The Donegal HerStory event is a day for women in to come together meet other women and share stories through a creative process, have chats and a good few laughs throughout the day. While also creating the space to reflect on the importance of ensuring women’s everyday lives, contributions and stories are both told and included in our history.
The event attendance fee is €8 with a light lunch provided, spaces are limited, so if you would like to secure your place, please fill in our online form here.
In this month’s Women’s Live’s, Women’s Voice’ feature Sharon Doherty shares her learning experience on the importance of embracing self care and making small changes to support our health and well being.
Hello and Happy New Year!
My name is Sharon Doherty, from Quigley’s Point, Co. Donegal. As we enter a new decade, I think there is so much hope for our health and wellbeing. Here’s a little bit of my life story so far.
I was diagnosed with stage two invasive breast cancer on the 22nd August 2013 at the age of 37. I found the lumps myself but naively thought they were due to hormonal changes and didn’t get them checked out for almost a year.
While I was a little surprised, I knew I had been under a lot of pressure at work, some of it self-inflicted. I was also still grieving for my son who had passed away as a baby nine years previously. I knew in my heart these had been taking their toll. What I didn’t realise at the time of my diagnosis was just how many silly mistakes I had been making that contributed to my illness.
Illness isn’t even a word I really associate with it though because I never felt sick, although I was very tired a lot of the time. Having had breast cancer has brought nothing but hugely positive changes to my life. It was a real wake-up call.
On the day I was diagnosed, the consultant told me I would be returning the following week for more tests. I’ll never forget the look on his face when I let him know I was going on holiday that week and the tests would have to wait until I returned. It still makes me smile. And it was a blessing that I took that time to go away and not be panicked into treatment. I think this is really important. Not to panic or worry overly. Worry achieves nothing positive.
I began to read and research all things health related and I started making some small but significant changes to my life. The more I read, the more I realised just how little I knew. I was fascinated by what I was learning, and still can’t get enough. More importantly, as I implemented the changes I noticed almost instantly, improvements to my health. It was then I began to realise that we have an incredible ability to heal ourselves given the right environment.
When I stopped eating dairy products, headaches that I got frequently, vanished. That was the first and most startling discovery. For years I had been eating painkillers for headaches and simply cutting out dairy prevented them. Too much sugar and white flour products in my diet were contributing to dandruff, candida overgrowth and a mucousy cough in the mornings – lovely. That strong coffee driving to work was making me nervous and on edge all day and seriously damaging my immune system unbeknownst to me. A glass of wine on an empty stomach in the evening was putting further pressure on my body. All of these little things added up and on top of the stress and previous trauma in my life, became too much.
I was able to change so many of these things I and haven’t looked back. I thought I wouldn’t like coffee without milk. Or that I couldn’t live without cheese! But these little changes have been so easy to make. I have also started making a vegetable juice a few times a week which has massively strengthened my immune system. I make bone broth and look after my gut health. I eat a lot more vegetables and I try not to be the stress head I used to be.
One of my friends asked for the bullet points of what I was learning because she didn’t have the time to do all the research I was. From there, the idea for my little book was born. Simple little tips, for general health that people could easily implement into their daily lives. It has taken five years, but finally, You Got This, is in print. It’s available in the Four Masters bookshop in Donegal Town and the Bookmark shops in Letterkenny.
I had a mastectomy at the end of November 2013. By this time I had done enough objective research to know I didn’t want to have chemotherapy or radiation. I was unsure about the hormone drug that it was suggested I take however. I remember clearly the exact moment I decided not to take it.
I had spent the day on my computer and my head was full of conflicting information. Many websites pointed to all the benefits and yet the World Health Organisation listed it as a carcinogen. I simply didn’t know what to do. I looked to the sky and said out loud, “Oh for a moment of clarity.” And the answer came to me straight away. If I took the drugs, I would have absolutely no way of knowing for sure if they caused a recurrence or not. If I didn’t take the drugs, but made changes to my diet and how I was living, then perhaps I would remain healthy and not need any further treatment at all. This is what’s been happening so far.
I have discovered so much through this particular journey. One of the most important things is that prevention is so much better than cure and that everyone has the power to make small changes every day that might just prevent them becoming one of the worrying statistics. I think we live believing that it won’t happen to us, but it can if we’re not looking after ourselves.
The most exciting thing is that there is so much we can do so easily to look after our health and wellbeing. Eat good food and really enjoy it. Laugh and chat with friends, family and loved ones. Get out in the fresh air and breathe deeply. Learn new things and have experiences. Dance, sing, listen to music. Go for regular physio, massage or reflexology to release tension from the body. Have kinesiology, go to a nutritionist or naturopath and find out the root causes of little ailments in the body and make the necessary changes. Stop at times during the day and be aware of life and grateful for it. Pray, meditate, exercise moderately but regularly. Slow down!
NCCWN Donegal are always looking for women to share their stories and looking for women to write features on topics of their choice which we will profile as part of our Women’s Lives, Women’s Voices’ series.
NCCWN Donegal Women’s Network invites you to join us on Saturday 23rd November 10.30am-3pm in the Donegal Women’s Centre in Letterkenny for our Women’s ‘The Art of Wellness’ event. This unique day will look at the importance of women’s health, human rights and wellness.
This event builds on from a series of arts activism Workshops NCCWN Donegal delivered this year in support of the national ‘Sort Our Smears Campaign’ which creates awareness to the Cervical Screening scandal which has impacted thousands of women’s lives in Ireland. From these workshops’ women produced a number of art pieces to reflect how the felt about the situation, locally in in Donegal and nationally.
The Art of Wellness will be an interactive day made up of a combination of informative discussions and demonstrations, a creative art activity and health awareness raising. During the day we will be joined by the Marie Keating Foundation who will provide practical advice and supportive information in relation to cancer and women’s health. This will be followed by a creative art session with Barbara O’Meara the Community Artist who developed the ‘Sort Our Smears Campaign’ and the ‘Stitched With Love’ a collaborative community art project to make a Baby Blanket with 796 white squares to honour the Tuam Babies and Mothers.
Following a light lunch, in the afternoon we will be joined by Sarah Casey of SarahJaneYoga.com, who will facilitate an essential oils demonstration and talk about the benefits of essential oils for stress relief and positive wellness. We end the day with Mary Kara from Donegal Mindfulness who will give an introduction to mindfulness and lead a gentle meditation.
The Art of Wellness is a day for women to come together and discover practical ways to develop positive health and wellbeing. While also creating the space to reflect on the importance of supporting and ensuring women’s health locally and globally. We also have a raffle prize for a lucky winner on the day too!
This is a free event and spaces are limited, so if you would like to secure your place, please fill in our online booking form here.
This event has been part funded by Donegal Changemakers under their Seeds of Change small grants scheme.