When sisters Roisín Pelan and Lindsey Kennedy were diagnosed with breast cancer within a few weeks of each other in early 2018—one in January and the other in February—they were living nearly on opposite sides of the globe. Roisín lived in the UK, and Lindsey lived in Australia. For months, both sisters were too ill to travel, and so the only way they could talk to one another was on a video call.
Roisín had already been diagnosed with the disease once in 2014, while she was pregnant. She’d had a mastectomy and had beaten cancer, but she was diagnosed again just a few short years later on January 6th, 2018. Lindsey immediately planned a trip to see her sister over Easter and offer some support and encouragement, but first, she went to get a mammogram and ultrasound of her own. And the results weren’t what she was anticipating.
On January 25th, 2018, the doctors discovered a lump in Lindsey’s breast, and in early February, they confirmed that it was cancerous. So instead of hopping on a plane to see Roisín, she had the four-centimeter tumor removed from her breast, as well as one in her armpit. Then she went on to have chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as well as a double mastectomy with reconstruction.
Sadly, the nature of the sisters’ disease and required treatment made it impossible for them to make the 10,000-mile journey to see one another in person. So they were restricted to video chatting and hoping they could be with one another in person again soon.
These two sisters are not the type to get down on themselves, however. Despite their bad luck, they’ve been surprisingly positive throughout the journey.
“We have been dealt a bad card,” writes Lindsey, “but as long as we have cards, we are still in the game, a game we intend to win.”
The sisters even created a fundraising account to raise money for research and to help them visit one another again when they were well enough.
Through all her treatment, Roisín refused to let breast cancer deter her from making the trip to see her sister—even if it took her a while to get there. After several months of grueling treatment, recovery, and fundraising, she booked a flight to Melbourne to visit Lindsey for Christmas…and didn’t tell Lindsey about it.
You can imagine Lindsey’s surprise, of course, when her sister showed up unannounced to spend the holiday season showing her some much-needed support and encouragement.
“It’s unbelievable. The best Christmas present ever!” said Lindsey.
Check out the video below to see the touching moment the sisters were reunited.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?