Galway woman’s cancer journey inspires her to share her story

Make-up classes for women undergoing chemotherapy launching soon

As a trainer and owner of International School of Make Up Artistry, I have had the privilege of meeting amazing and inspiring women and men all the time, sharing their journey in becoming a make-up artist and helping them to get started with their career in the beauty industry. It is one of the many perks of my role. Which leads me to speak about one of the most inspiring and positive women I have ever had the honour of teaching — Olive Shaughnessy.

Olive Shaughnessy decided to enrol on one of our courses after she had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and she was such a bright light and a pleasure to teach.

Olive was diagnosed with terminal cancer after she broke her neck while on a day out with her children. While she was feeling very ill and down after treatment she heard a programme on the radio, discussing what people would do if they won the Lotto. Olive immediately thought that she would love to do something creative and spend her time in a career that she loved.

Olive enrolled on the make-up artistry diploma course, and loved the fun, creativity, and found her experience to be very healing as she was doing something she loved. Indeed, Olive loved her course so much, she never missed a class, even when being treated as an in-patient in hospital.

Olive found a huge sense of self achievement from completing her course and passing her exams. She continued to apply make-up to her family and friends, and was delighted with how she was able to apply her own make-up as she went through her treatment.

Olive wrote a book – The Olive Branch- my second chance. She found this experience to be extremely therapeutic for her and a great release. Olive completed her first book and sold more than 4,000 copies, with people still looking for it. Her launch night was October 12, 2015, one year after her diagnosis. Olive always looks for the positives in life and her book is an amazing read — she strongly believes a little bit of kindness goes a long way and always makes the time to talk to people.

Olive's positivity is very catching. Singer songwriter Colin Fahy, who read her blog at, loved it and wrote a song with lyrics from her blog, which he sang at the launch of her second book, Miracles and Milestones on my Cancer Journey.

Olive regularly gives her time to give talks in schools and believes that her faith and her three Ps — positivity, prayer, and people — are her staples in life.

Olive now plans to start giving make-up classes in the School of Make-up Artistry for women going through chemotherapy, and I cannot imagine a better woman for the job. We are so delighted to be a small part in Olive's journey and look forward to many more happy times in the future.

To find out more about Olive Shaughnessy see, her blog at, or see


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