Sunday 19 January 2020

Cancer research project to be named in honour of Emma Hannigan

Bestselling author Emma Hannigan, who died on Saturday aged 45 following an 11-year battle with breast cancer
Bestselling author Emma Hannigan, who died on Saturday aged 45 following an 11-year battle with breast cancer
Emma Hannigan Newsdesk Newsdesk

One month after the death of popular author Emma Hanigan, Breast Cancer Ireland has announced that a cancer research fellowship will be named in her honour.

Emma Hanigan died on March 3 after battling cancer 10 times since she was first diagnosed in 2005.

In the month before her death, the Irish author raised more than €126,000 for Breast Cancer Ireland (BCI) through a text campaign.

The charity is now working with the Royal College of Surgeons on a three-year research project.

Doctor Damir Varislija has been awarded the fellowship which has been named in Emma's honour.

In a statement, BCI's CEO, Aisling Hurley said: “The naming of this fellowship in Emma’s honour recognises her valuable contribution to our research efforts and it ensures her memory lives on in transforming the landscape of breast cancer in Ireland into the future.”

Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland, Ms Hurley said Emma benefited hugely from cancer research when she was battling her illness.

"Her life was extended because of development through cancer treatment," she said.

Emma Hannigan
Emma Hannigan

"Each time she was diagnosed there was a new drug or clinical trial that she could avail of."

Ms Hurley said Emma's family were "thrilled" with the news that the fellowship would be named in honour of the author.

She said the charity will continue to raise funds for the research project after its three-year run.

Ms Hurley also announced that Dubray Books revealed to her last week that they had raised €18,000 for the charity.

The bookstore had joined Emma's text campaign by donating all profits from the sales of her last book Letters to my Daughters to BCI.

The bookstore also announced that their courier company would be donating their costs to the charity.

Emma, who was mother to Sacha (17) and Kim (15), had been fighting breast cancer for several years and had fought it off 10 times before she finally passed away.

In 2005, the writer discovered that she was carrying the BRCA 1 cancer gene, which meant an 85pc chance of developing breast cancer and a 50pc chance of ovarian cancer.

To reduce her risk to 5pc, the author had surgery to remove her breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Despite this, she was still diagnosed with cancer in 2007, beginning her 11-year battle with the disease.

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