Dr Laura Brennan
AN INSPIRATIONAL University Hospital Limerick cancer patient has fronted World Health Organisation campaign on the importance of children availing of the HPV vaccine this Monday.
Ennis woman Laura Brennan was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer when she was 25 in 2017.
Since her diagnosis, Laura has been working with the HSE as a staunch advocate for the vaccine.
As part of her European campaign encouraging parents to avail of the vaccine, a moving video that tells Laura’s story has also been shared on social media.
The video features Laura at home in Clare with her family and travelling to University Hospital Limerick for treatment, as well as on a trip to Copenhagen for meeting with the WHO.
“This illness is devastating and it’s going to take my life but the good news is there’s a vaccine that you can get that prevents it. HPV caused my cancer. I just wanted parents to know there is an alternative,” Laura said.
Dr Brennan was too old to get the vaccine when it was first rolled out in Irish schools.
“I wish the vaccine had been available to me, of course I do. Don’t get swayed by rumours about the vaccine’s safety—get the vaccine,” she insisted.
Dr Linda Coate, consultant medical oncologist at University Hospital Limerick said: “All of the information we have is that the vaccine is safe and that it prevents a very difficult-to-treat form of cancer. So please, listen to Laura’s story: get the facts and get the vaccine.”
For her work on the HPV vaccine, Laura Brennan has been awarded several honours including an honorary doctorate from UCD and the inaugural Patient Advocacy Medal from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. She is the Clare Person of the Year for 2019.