Campaigner Lynsey Bennett appeals for specialised Irish holistic centre for cancer sufferers

CANCER campaigner Lynsey Bennett wants holistic centres in Ireland to fight the disease after her ‘miraculous’ treatment in such clinics in Germany and Mexico.

he Longford woman lost so much weight that her children Zoe (13) and Hailee (8) noticed when she plunged from 77kg to just over 59kg within a year.

Lynsey went to an alternative treatment centre in Mexico just over a year ago, having been told that she would be in a wheelchair and bedbound within a few months and would face death within a year. She had been diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in 2017.

“When I was in Mexico a year ago I was about 77.3kg and I have lost over 17kg in a year,” she explains. “A lot of that would be muscle. Like my bones were sticking out.

“There was even one day Hailee was on the couch and she was lying on me and she goes ‘ouch, that’s hurting my head’. That’s when I realised I really was losing a lot of weight. It was actually my hip bone, which in all the years I’ve been laying with her, there had never been anything like that.

“You can see your face when it’s sunken in the mirror. It was quite shocking. I have always had a fairly stable weight – unless I was really trying to lose weight in the past which, to be honest, I never really did.

“It was never an issue for me, so it was worrying, especially because we knew the cancer was growing in my bowels, so it was showing that was having an actually effect on my body and that it wouldn’t let my body put on weight. That’s why it’s so amazing now that it is starting to go back on, and it is possible.”

Lynsey has just come back from a similar clinic, Arcadia in Bad Emstal, Germany, after nearly a month of treatment.

“The last three months before that, the hospital were worried about my weight. It just kept dropping and dropping and dropping, no matter what I was doing. It just wasn’t going on, it was only coming off,” she says.

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Lynsey Bennett. Picture: Shelley Corcoran

Lynsey Bennett. Picture: Shelley Corcoran

“I’m now 62.3kgs, I put on 2.3kgs. Even energy-wise, it makes such a difference. You can look in the mirror and you know you look better.”

Last year Lynsey (33) settled her High Court action over the alleged misinterpretation of her cervical smear slides, after undergoing surgeries, a hysterectomy and chemotherapy.

Despite her ordeal, people are amazed at how youthful she is.

“Zoe is in boarding school. I had her parent-teaching meeting last week and one of the parents came on the Zoom call and she said ‘oh you’re not Zoe’s mum?’

“I was sitting there going ‘what?’ Then she made me doubt myself that I was Zoe’s mum,” she says.

“Then she was like ‘you’re more like her sister’. I was ‘no, I’m her mum’. She said ‘do you mind me asking what age are you ?’ I replied, ‘I’m nearly 34!’

“She said ‘I thought you were about 18!’ I was like ‘I love you, you made my day!’

“It was the same in Germany, they all thought I was about 18 or 19. I don’t know, there must be some very good Longford air,” says Lynsey.

The mum-of-two could not travel to Mexico again due to two recent blood clotting episodes and instead took a ferry to mainland Europe and then a train to Germany rather than fly.

She explains the care she received, which included Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT) – which is an alternative cancer treatment that uses insulin to increase the effects of chemotherapy.

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Lynsey Bennett with daughters Zoe (12) and Hailee (seven)

Lynsey Bennett with daughters Zoe (12) and Hailee (seven)

Lynsey Bennett with daughters Zoe (12) and Hailee (seven)

“They do IPT which is a treatment where you lower down your blood sugar and then you come in with insulin and proteins with drips,” she reveals.

“They also do ozone as well. Other than that it’s like your physio, your reiki, all your vitamin infusions.”

Lynsey also had to do some extreme heat treatment.

“They give you full body hypertermia, and [I] also had to wear a biomask. I was nearly two full hours lying with a body temperature of 39.53. That is fever, so it is,” she says.

“It’s treating your whole body. It’s trying to build your whole body instead of just attacking one problem, it’s trying to fix as a whole or at least fix you as good as it can.

“People think that there are life treatments, that’s it’s all gentle, calm, and really relaxing, but not all of them are. A lot of them can be, and that’s why there’s a happy balance of when you have to do tougher ones, but there’s also nicer one to balance them out.”

Lynsey says her blood quality has dramatically improved.

“They have actually gone down to that of a normal healthy person. It’s huge,” she says.

“It means it likes what I’m doing, which is why I cannot emphasise enough if we had enough investors to get a centre of excellence going, of holistic care, it would be amazing.

“Germany is an EU country, could we not get IPT in Ireland? I was told that Germany and a handful of other countries are allowed treat cancer in this way but unfortunately Ireland is not one of them.

“Could someone explain to me how come? Sixteen months ago I’d have only six to eight months of life.

“Am I not a good enough example that maybe it is worthwhile? There are other girls who went to Mexico after I went, who I’m in touch with, and they should also not be here. But ever since trying the Mexico treatment and the holistic way and being more open to that, they’re still here.”

LPT has not been licenced for use in Ireland with some medical experts saying it is not proven to work.

Lynsey says she will return to Germany at Easter for more treatment.

“I’ve a lot of stuff coming up afterwards, with communions and confirmations for my girls, lessons, I’m maid of honour at my friend’s wedding, hen parties and other special occasions that are happening between May and June,” she adds.

She has been in touch with fellow cancer sufferer Vicky Phelan, who has had to pull out of Charlie Bird’s Croagh Patrick climb.

“I am devastated for her because I know how much it would have meant to her to be climbing and doing this fantastic thing. I can understand why she needs to take time and build her strength and get her health as good as she can,” she says.

Pop star Una Healy has also been of huge help to Lynsey.

“Una is absolutely amazing. She has come down and seen me. She messages me nearly every second day, checking in, seeing how I’m doing. We are trying to organise our holidays, stuff with kids for the summer, just to have nice things to look forward to,” she smiles.

Lynsey has a rescue cat, Poppy, who has been of huge benefit too at her home in Killoe.

“I got her only a couple of months before I had my hysterectomy. In the six weeks that I was lying in my bed in my front sitting room, she kept me company,” she beams.

She is also thankful for her friend Fiona for starting a GoFundMe page, which has raised €33,000 for her treatment.

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CervicalCheck campaigner Lynsey Bennett

CervicalCheck campaigner Lynsey Bennett

CervicalCheck campaigner Lynsey Bennett

“It costs nearly €10,000 a week for five days of treatment. It’s amazing what these people have done, and I have that support,” she says.

Just recently a mother of one of Hailee’s friends passed away and the full enormity of death struck the young girl for the first time. A therapist will help her cope with the situation.

“I think even though I have been honest with Hailee and with Zoe, I’m wondering that with Hailee she’s thinking ‘oh yeah she’s going to go to heaven early, but I’ll be grown up and I won’t be in school any more’.

“I’m not sure if that’s what she thought, but she completely took a turn and was so upset. She would still say to me every couple of days ‘I hope you don’t die’.”

If you’d like to donate, see the ‘A-year-of-healing-for-Lynsey-Bennett’ GoFundMe page

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