Tipperary's Annette Hahessy with her family
A South East woman currently undergoing breast cancer treatment for the second time will be live on Virgin Media One’s Ireland’s Got Talent this Sunday.
Clerihan, County Tipperary, mother Annette Hahessy is part of the inspirational Sea of Change choir that will star in the second semi-final at The Helix in Dublin, after leaving the judges in tears when they auditioned for the talent show last November.
The Dublin-based female choir - which is made up of cancer survivors and those touched by cancer from across the country- performed This is Me, getting put through to the live shows thanks to Denise Van Outen’s Golden Buzzer.
The 45 members of Sea of Change joined forces after meeting at a fundraiser last year for Aoibheann’s Pink Tie, a national children’s cancer charity set up following the tragic loss of an eight-year-old to cancer. Annette and her friends from Clerihan were among the 2,505 women who travelled to Magheramore beach in County Wicklow, setting a world record for skinny dipping while raising over €500,000 to support children suffering from cancer in Ireland and their families.
Similar to her friends in the Sea of Change choir, Annette’s journey to the bright lights of the popular Virgin Media One talent show has been heart-wrenching. Her life did a “somersault” in 2016 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. “I can’t even begin to describe how devastating and shocking it was when I found out I had cancer. It's unbelievable because you never think it’s going to happen to you and when it does your stomach flips out and the room starts spinning,” Annette recalls.
Annette underwent four months of chemotherapy, followed by surgery and radiotherapy. Owner of Tumbletots Playschool in Clerihan, Annette was just getting her life back on track when breast cancer returned last November.
Annette praises her family and friends for their support throughout her journey with cancer, in particular her husband George and their four sons. “George is by my side 24/7 and is living the fight with me. My sons Sean (23), Luke (20), Ben (16) and Michael (8) are amazing. My really close group of friends in Clerihan, and family in Clonmel and Dublin are also a huge support.”
Annette says being part of Sea of Change is “a great distraction” as she battles breast cancer and has made her a “stronger person”. She adds: “Sea of Change has changed my life. Talking to the women about cancer is like talking to someone else about the weather and it has helped me to open up to people without shedding a tear. I don't know where all this inner strength has come from. Two years ago I would have been bawling crying, but I have really toughened up as a person.”
The semi-finals take place on Saturday and Sunday at 7:30pm nightly, with just two acts from each going straight through to the grand final.
Semi-final one (Saturday):
One Island Clan - Dublin and Belfast
Declan Colgan (20) - Mullingar
Liv Gregorio (9) - Cork
MC Daycent (25) - Thurles
Fly Youth (13 to 19 years) - Dublin
Aidan McCann (9) - Maynooth, Kildare
Sharyn Ward (33) - Longford / Dublin
Sharon and Brandon Webb (41 and 19) - Kildare
Semi-final two (Sunday):
Rodelle Borja (29) - Swords
Johnny Quinn (60) - County Down
Tara Jamieson (23) - Dublin
Robyn Diamonds (25) - Derry
Sea of Change (34 to 70 years) - All over Ireland
BSD (10 -17 years) - Swords
Hip Hopical (5-18 years) - Monaghan, Louth, Cavan
Rebel Acro (10 to 18 years) - Cork.