Vicky Phelan speaks about how she dealt with the trauma of her daughter's accident 3 years ago

Vicky Phelan speaks about how she dealt with the trauma of her daughter's accident

For Vicky Phelan, writing her memoir was a "cathartic" experience.

Although Vicky became a household name due to her taking a stand that broke the cervical cancer scandal, a terminal cancer diagnosis is just one of the battles the mum-of-two has faced in her life.

In her newly-released book, Overcoming, Vicky details her experience of post natal depression as well as her grief over a car crash during her teenage years that claimed the life of her boyfriend.

In the moving book, Vicky also recounts the horrific accident that happened to her daughter, Amelia, when she was seven.


A spark from the fireplace in the family's sitting room ignited Amelia's dress, and as she has a condition that means she was born with limited sight, she didn't notice it until the flames began to burn her.

Thanks to the quick actions of her parents, Amelia's life was saved but she was left with significant injuries.

Speaking to HerFamily, Vicky says that she hadn't really dealt with what had happened, and the fallout it had on her wider family, until she had to recount what had happened for Overcoming.


"It took an awful lot out of me emotionally, but hard as it was I find it much easier now to talk about without getting really upset, so it's been good for me."

Having come through the other side, Vicky says that parents should be aware that a child's accident or illness can put a strain on their relationship.

"When something happens to your child, as parents it really has a huge effect on your marriage, on the way you deal with it.

"I'm a talker, I have to talk about these things and I'm very lucky, I have great friends and great family. But Jim is not a talker, so he buried it and he did not want to talk about it and that had a huge impact on our marriage because I got frustrated. I couldn't get past this, and he just did not want to talk about it."

Vicky says that it was lucky that both herself and her husband were home when the accident happened – and not just because they were both there to help their little girl.

"I've spoken to parents when there have been accidents at home and one parent wasn't there and blame starts to creep in. The fact that both of us were there we couldn't blame each other because we did everything we should have. Because I'm a First Aider, I kind of knew what to do and that kicked in, so there was never any blame."

She feels that it's important for people to feel that they can talk about these issues, which is why she pushed herself to be "brutally honest" in Overcoming.

"These things are things that society needs to talk about because, you're not only dealing with the trauma of something happening to your child, this also has a huge impact on your relationship with your partner."

You can join Vicky Phelan for live talks, supported by HerFamily, about her remarkable story in Cork and Limerick this month. Tickets are €20 and include a copy of Overcoming.

Overcoming by Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan, published by Hachette Ireland, is out now priced €14.99.