The Laura Brennan Award

Laura-Brennan-painting

Who is Laura Brennan?

Laura Brennan was born on the 30th September 1992 in Co Clare to Bernie and Larry Brennan. Laura grew up with three brothers; Colin, Kevin and Fergal. In December 2016 Laura was diagnosed with cervical cancer, in September the following year she was told that she had incurable disease. Laura was unaware of the existence of the HPV vaccine. Laura approached the Health Service Executive (HSE) in 2017 to see what she could do to improve the uptake of the vaccine, which was at 51%. When Laura died on the 20th March 2019, the HPV vaccine uptake was at 70%.

Laura is attributed to this significant uptake of the vaccine and is recognised for saving many lives now and into the future as a result of her campaign. On the 30th of September 2021, on what would have been her 29th birthday, the Royal College of Physicians (RCPI) in Ireland unveiled a portrait of Laura, recognising her work in health advocacy. Her portrait is the first non-medic to hang on the walls of the RCPI.

 

The Laura Brennan Award

The Irish Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ISGO) wished to acknowledge Laura’s outstanding achievement in boosting the vaccine uptake in her lifetime. In conjunction with the ISGO committee, The Laura Brennan Award was born. The inaugural event took place in Belfast in November 2018 where Laura was acknowledged for her contribution. With Laura, it was decided that the Laura Brennan Award would be presented on an annual basis by the ISGO to a patient or member of the public as a recognition of outstanding achievement in the areas of gynaecological oncology patient advocacy and or patient and public involvement (PPI) in research.

 

Guidelines for The Laura Brennan Award

  1. The Laura Brennan Award will be presented on an annual basis by the ISGO to a patient or member of the public as a recognition of outstanding achievement in the areas of gynecological oncology patient advocacy and or public and patient involvement in research. 
  2.  Candidates can be nominated by the society, the PPI group or members of the public
  3. Nominations will be assessed by the executive council of the society, representatives from the Laura Brennan family and two members of the PPI group, one being the previous recipient and the other after an open call to the ISGO-PPI.
  4. The PPI representatives on this selection committee will be rotated on a yearly basis
  5. The award will be bestowed after an open ballot

 

We hope to present the award at the annual ISGO meetings. 

Nominations are accepted through this email address isgoppi@gmail.ie

 

Laura Brennan Award Winners

2021 winner Kim Hanly

Kim-Hanley-cropped
2021 Laura Brennan Award recipient Kim Hanly

The winner of the 2021 Laura Brennan Award is 36 year old Kim Hanly from Dublin. In July 2012, at just 26, Kim was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer – stage 1b1 after having symptoms for about a year. At the time Kim had two boys Shane 4  and Evan 2 years old. Kim felt there was a lack of peer to peer to support in Ireland for those impacted by cervical cancer and set up Cervical Cancer Awareness Ireland (CCAI).

 

CCAI has helped hundreds of women and offer a safe space for them to come to for help and support. Kim has given her time to campaigns run by the Irish Cancer Society and the HSE.

Encouraging those to not only attend cervical screening, but to avail of the HPV vaccine – something she is very passionate about, and a firm advocate for. Kim is a member of ISGO-PPI and has participated in many projects such as the thisisGO.ie platform and the Diagnosis Delivery study.

Kim is a worthy winner of the Laura Brennan Award and plans to work closely with ISGO and the Brennan family to continue to promote awareness and uptake for the HPV vaccine.

 

 

2020 winner Jacqueline Daly

2020 recipient of the Laura Brennan Award
Jacqueline Daly in receipt of the Laura Brennan Award

Jacqueline Daly (member of ISGO-PPI) was presented the award virtually due to Covid19 in Nov 2010. Jacqueline co-founded East Galway & Midlands Cancer Support in 2012 and is now Director of Services, as well as a patient advocate and campaigner, bringing awareness to local and national government agencies.

 

She is an active member of the ISGOPPI and patient representative on the board of the Society of Sexual Medicine Ireland. She is also secretary of the board of the European Cancer Patients Coalition (ECPC).

She has contributed to the ECPC Publication ‘Living Well During Cancer Treatment’, wrote the Structured Education Programme (STEP) to support men with Prostate Cancer and participated in ESMO Rare Cancer Patient Advocate Training in Milan in 2018 and spoke at the ESMO Conference in Munich 2018.

On top of this she is a complimentary therapist in Bio Energy, Healing Touch, Indian Head Massage, Reiki, Rahanni and a developer and presenter of community outreach programmes, including facilitator for Survive and Thrive Self-Management programme for Cancer Survivors run by the National Cancer Control Programme in Ireland.

She is a facilitator of the Climb program for children between age 5 – 12. Both Jacqueline and her husband Mike had cancer and know both as carers and as patients how important proper support and information is. The Cancer Patients voice must be heard. Jacqueline was a worthy recipient of the 2020 Laura Brennan Award.

 

2019 winner Joan Moore

2019 recipient of the Laura Brennan Award Joan Moore
Joan Moore receives the Laura Brennan Award in 2019

The late Joan Moore a member of ISGO-PPI was a worthy recipient in Galway in November 2019. Joan had tirelessly campaigned and advocated for better services for those with cancer and increased awareness for ovarian cancer symptoms.

 

Over the years since her diagnosis, she had shared her story in local papers and on local radio in Cork to increase awareness in the hope that others wouldn’t have to travel her journey and to let people know of the supports available.

She was one of the first members of the ISGO-PPI group as she saw this as a way to make improvements. At one of the first meetings with clinicians, Joan bravely agreed to share her story and explain why she wanted to use her experience to improve services and outcomes for others.

She went on to join the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) guidelines committee for ovarian cancer diagnosis. She continuously shared her experiences for the benefit of fellow patients and was a worthy recipient of the Laura Brennan Award. Joan sadly died on the 2nd of September 2021.