Friday 22 February 2019

'How many people know January is cervical cancer awareness month?' - Woman (26) who has terminal cancer makes vaccine plea

Laura Brennan on The Late Late Show
Laura Brennan on The Late Late Show
Laura Brennan, 26-year-old patient advocate who restored public confidence in HPV vaccine was conferred with an honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature by University College Dublin. Picture: Iain White/Fennell Photography
Laura Brennan, 26-year-old patient advocate who restored public confidence in HPV vaccine was conferred with an honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature by University College Dublin. Picture: Iain White/Fennell Photography
Laura Brennan, 26-year-old patient advocate who restored public confidence in HPV vaccine was conferred with an honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature by University College Dublin. Pictured with her father Larry, mother Bernadette and brothers Kevin and Fergal. Picture: Iain White/Fennell Photography
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A 26 year-old woman who is dying from cervical cancer has appealed to parents to inoculate their children with the HPV vaccine.

Laura Brennan, who was recently given an honorary doctorate from University College Dublin, said she has spent the last 12 days in hospital because she has cervical cancer.

“This could have been prevented thanks to the HPV vaccine,” she said on Twitter. “Protect your children from this, vaccinate.”

The Clare woman was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, and underwent five months of intense treatment which seemed to be successful, but a few months later she was told that her cancer had returned and that this time, it was a terminal.

“How many people know January is cervical cancer awareness month?” Laura, who has been tirelessly campaigning for the vaccine asked today on Twitter.

 So far I’ve spent 12 days in hospital thanks to having CC. This could have been prevented thanks to the HPV vaccine. Protect your children from this, vaccinate.”

It was Laura’s dedication to raising awareness and education about the vaccine that earned her the UCD accolade.

In an interview with Independent.ie last month, Laura said she doesn’t know how much time she has left.

“I have had many highs in the past year or so – a lot more than lows,” she says. “I would say that despite the cancer, the last 12 months have been the best of my life; I was at the Toy Show in November, I went to a concert with my brother, to Copenhagen and the US to talk about my experiences - I have had so many great opportunities and made some fantastic friends.

“Playing a small role in spreading the word about the importance of vaccination has been an amazing experience and to be honest, I haven’t had any tough times really – the only thing that really gets me is when I see someone younger than me dealing with cancer or any other illness – I find that very upsetting. And although it would have been nice to have some nieces or nephews to play with (I’m still waiting), I have been really lucky as life has been so good to me.

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