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Statue of Suffolk breast cancer surgeon is unveiled

PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:00 11 September 2018

Dr Liz O'Riordan, with the 3D statue of herself Picture: DERMOT O'RIORDAN

Dr Liz O'Riordan, with the 3D statue of herself Picture: DERMOT O'RIORDAN

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A ‘topless’ statue of a Suffolk surgeon – who has twice been diagnosed with breast cancer – was unveiled in Bury St Edmunds at the weekend.

The sandstone statue, which was unveiled in Bury St Edmunds' Abbey Gardens at the weekend Picture: DERMOT O'RIORDANThe sandstone statue, which was unveiled in Bury St Edmunds' Abbey Gardens at the weekend Picture: DERMOT O'RIORDAN

Dr Liz O’Riordan, who is a breast cancer surgeon at Ipswich Hospital, was nominated as part of the #putherforward campaign to be turned into a small 3D printed statue.

Dr O’Riordan is one of 25 women across the UK to be nominated and the 3D sandstone statue, which shows the 43-year-old after her mastectomy, was unveiled in Bury’s Abbey Gardens on Sunday.

Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, who has also had breast cancer, attended the unveiling, which was as part of the National Trust’s Heritage Open Days.

Dr O’Riordan was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2015 and was treated at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

Dr O'Riordan with MP Jo Churchill Picture: DERMOT O'RIORDANDr O'Riordan with MP Jo Churchill Picture: DERMOT O'RIORDAN

This year she had further surgery to remove a recurrence, and had her ovaries removed at West Suffolk Hospital only two days before the unveiling.

Dr O’Riordan, who went to her final radiotherapy session at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge dressed as superhero Mrs Incredible, said: “I was delighted to see it, it’s amazing and such an empowering image.

“Everyone has scars and I wanted to share mine and say ‘this is who I am’.”

Dr O’Riordan has spoken internationally about her experiences and is a keen triathlete, completing a half Ironman in Staffordshire in June 2017.

She also supports many cancer patients over social media and will speak on the next episode of BBC Radio 5 podcast You, Me and the Big C.

The Put Her Forward project by company Non Zero One was commissioned by Heritage Open Days and recognises living women who have positively impacted the people around them.

The aim of the project was to double the number of statues of non-mythical and non-royal women in England.

Dr O’Riordan said the statue, which is now back in storage, could go on tour in the UK.

“I like it go somewhere where a lot of people could see it,” she added.

“They’ll put it wherever I want it to go, but it’s just working out the details.

“It’s been such a hectic week, I haven’t really had a chance to think about it but I’m open to suggestions.”

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