Breast cancer surgeon to turn on town’s Christmas lights
A Suffolk breast cancer surgeon – who has twice fought the disease herself – will turn on Bury St Edmunds’ Christmas lights this year.
Dr Liz O’Riordan, 43, has close connections with Bury as she underwent treatment at West Suffolk Hospital in the town and previously worked there as a junior doctor.
The surgeon and her husband, Dermot, who is a consultant surgeon at West Suffolk Hospital, are also regulars at Bury’s parkrun event and members of the West Suffolk Wheelers Cycling and Triathlon Club.
A ‘topless’ statue of Dr O’Riordan was unveiled in the Abbey Gardens at the start of the month after she was nominated as part of a national campaign.
The doctor dressed as a superhero for her final radiotherapy session at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge last month and has hinted her costume might make a return for the switch-on.
The 43-year-old, who works at Ipswich Hospital, said: “It will be an honour to switch on the lights and my mum and dad are so proud.
“I can’t wait to be able to give something back to a community that has helped me without knowing it. I might even turn up dressed as Mrs Incredible.”
Dr O’Riordan has spoken internationally about her experiences with breast cancer and has supported many patients via social media.
She has also written a book – The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer: How to feel empowered and take control – with Trisha Greenhalgh, which was released today.
The Our Bury St Edmunds Christmas Switch-on event runs from 3pm on November 15 and there will be a packed programme of street and stage entertainment, along with fundraising stalls before Dr O’Riordan flicks the switch to illuminate the town at 7pm.
Entertainment will then continue until 8pm.
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said: “Over the last couple of years we have always invited an inspiring person who has a strong connection to Bury St Edmunds to switch on the lights and I am delighted that Dr O’Riordan accepted this year’s invitation.
“As it is also the year that the NHS celebrates its 70th anniversary, we could not have asked a better person.
“We will be making a charitable donation to the West Suffolk Hospital’s Breast Cancer Unit at Liz’s request to thank her.”